Caritas Austria

Caritas Austria realises non-profitable, charitable projects in Austria as well as in other countries. The aim of Caritas Austria is to help people in need and to offer social services. Caritas Austria is a partner and advocate for the poor and marginalised and addresses the basic needs of vulnerable people. The key goals of Caritas Austria are to assist and to enable beneficiaries to provide sustainable perspectives. Caritas expects the beneficiaries to assume an active role in building better living conditions for themselves and encourages them to take on co-responsibility and initiative.

Support in the field of Migration:
Supporting migrants at all stages of their stay in Austria is an integral part of our work. Caritas Austria advocates for their rights on all levels and at all stages of their stay. Caritas Austria also assists migrants before and during the decision to return to their country of origin. In certain cases, Caritas Austria can also support returnees after their return.

Caritas Austria is funded by:

Caritas Austria receives funds from private donations, governmental subsidies, different EC funds and other international donors and cost refunds in the field of social work.

The voluntary return project IRMA and the reintegration project IRMA plus are co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union and the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.

Does the ERSO member offer pre-departure counselling?

Voluntary return project IRMA
The decision to return involves many questions. The Caritas counselling services assist persons who are interested in a voluntary return with all their enquiries as well as with the whole return process. The counsellors help with decision-making and inform about perspectives.  
Our comprehensive counselling enables free and well-founded decision-making.
•    We inform about perspectives in Austria, in the EU and in the country of origin
•    We inform about support possibilities in case of a return decision
•    We offer the possibility of an anonymous first counselling session
Whenever possible, special assistance is offered to unaccompanied minors (UAMs) as well as to clients suffering from various ailments.
Furthermore, our partner LEFÖ-IBF offers special return counselling for victims of human trafficking.   
When necessary, beside counselling and informing about perspectives, we also offer
•    acquisition of travel documents,
•    assistance with translations,
•    establishing contact to relatives and friends in the country of origin
•    close cooperation with Austrian authorities,
•    organisation of the return.
We support our clients after their return to their country of origin by
•    contacting local organisations (whenever possible),
•    providing a small financial contribution to the new start,
•    providing the possibility to participate in a reintegration programme (if feasible).

Target group of the ERSO member (in the context of return and reintegration):

The target group are people in need, who are staying in Austria and wish to return voluntarily to their country of origin. The target group are third country nationals such as:
•    asylum seekers,
•    residence permit applicants who have not yet received a decision about their application,
•    legal residents,    
•    persons without a legal residence status.  

What kind of reintegration assistance does the ERSO member offer to returnees?

Reintegration project IRMA plus
IRMA plus offers reintegration assistance for vulnerable returnees. The reintegration assistance consists of a maximum of 3000 € (in-kind).
Reintegration assistance can include support in the following areas:
1.    Basic needs (housing etc.)
2.    Medical and psychological care
3.    Business assistance
4.    Job training
Who is vulnerable?
Each individual in each case needs to be assessed separately during the pre-return counselling in Austria, because indicators for vulnerability may vary from country to country. The following list comprises indicators that might indicate vulnerability. The list is not exhaustive.

  • Single parents with children
  • Elderly people
  • Pregnant women
  • People with physical disabilities, physical or mental health problems
  • Victims of violence
  • Members of specific communities facing repression
  • Single women/female households returning without any family support

Where does IRMA plus offer reintegration assistance?

•    As a member of the ERSO network, IRMA plus operates in a great number of countries including Serbia, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and many others.

Partners in the context of voluntary return and reintegration:

We cooperate
•    with the foreign representations of potential returnees in order to clarify uncertainties and to sensitize them about the situation of their own citizens. We clarify country-specific return arrangements and thus enable a smooth and unbureaucratic return.
•    in the worldwide network of Caritas.
•    together with other aid organisations and NGOs in the countries of return.  
•    in the European network of ERSO (European Reintegration Support Organisations), to exchange experiences and knowledge, to use synergies and implement reintegration measures.
•    with other organisations (IOM, etc.) and networks (ERIN, among others), which offer reintegration projects for returnees from Austria.