The Vienna integration concept

The integration measures of the City of Vienna are based on a clear concept that is continuously updated and reviewed in cooperation with experts from theory and practice and the ethnic communities concerned.

The basis

The Vienna Integration Concept is based on "integration from day one". The city’s systematic integration assistance is continuously enhanced. Vienna welcomes new citizens and supports them in finding their way around everyday life in the city as quickly as possible. The integration assistance programme "Start Wien" for new migrants includes detailed start coaching available in 25 languages, an education booklet with language vouchers valid in Vienna, and information modules on topics such as labour market, education, housing, healthcare, and living together. The modules also focus on human rights (women’s rights, children’s rights) as the basis of legislation and society.

Five pillars

The five pillars of the Vienna Integration Concept are:

  • German and multilingualism
  • Education and work
  • Living together and participation
  • Objectivity, assessment and information
  • Human rights

Specific projects and measures have been developed for every pillar. Some, such as German language courses, focus solely on migrants. Others, however, are open for all Viennese and strengthen good neighbourly relations in the city.

German and multilingualism

Learning German as quickly as possible is an important step towards integration. Good neighbourly relations are difficult without German language skills, which are also indispensable to get an education and access to the labour market. Municipal Department 17 - Integration and Diversity (MA 17) therefore offers language vouchers for new migrants as well as easily accessible and reasonably priced German language courses and basic education courses for different target groups. There are, for example, basic education courses for women titled "Mum learns German" as well as for children and young people. About 11,000 persons avail of these offers each year.

The people who live in Vienna speak many different languages, which is a great potential for the city. (MA 17 therefore supports multilingualism with projects such as multilingual reading mentors and the Vienna Language App as well as with publications such as the School ABC (700 KB PDF).

Education and work

Good German language skills, however, are not enough to gain access to the Austrian labour market. Skilled and highly-skilled persons need to avail of their professional skills and experiences acquired abroad also in Austria. Start Wien as well as Start Wien for refugees offer tailored modules for these people and the advice centre "Perspektive" provides them with relevant information.

The City of Vienna also supports people who need to acquire basic and key skills with projects such as the StartWien Youth College or youth and women’s colleges organised by Interface. Young people and women can learn German there and acquire basic skills in areas such as maths and IT to facilitate their further education or access to the labour market.

The projects are partly co-funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education (BMB) and the European Social Fund (ESF) in the framework of the Adult Education Initiative.

The City of Vienna aims to provide all Viennese with equal opportunities in education and on the labour market.

Living together and participation

Integration policies and measures aim at achieving equal participation in social, economic and cultural life in the city. Integration can only be successful when people understand and respect each other.

To strengthen mutual understanding, MA 17 offers free information courses on topics such as integration, diversity, refugees as well as prevention and deradicalisation. "Wien.Vielfalt.Wissen", for example, provides multipliers with background information on different ethnic communities, while Migra-Bil focuses on empowering migrant associations. The event freiwillig.info provides information for volunteers who work with refugees and integration assistance programmes.

Several other projects, which MA 17 has developed in cooperation with partner organisations, actively promote dialogue and good neighbourly relations (project work).

On occasion of the project Vienna Charter, the first and largest citizen participation project of its kind in Europe, the Viennese discussed and defined what matters to them most to achieve good neighbourly relations. The results were collected in a basic document and have been discussed and handed on in the framework of Charter talks since 2015. Since 2016, the project has also included refugees.

Objectivity, assessment and information

Providing information, raising awareness and promoting intercultural competences are important tasks of MA 17. Objective discussions about the requirements and framework conditions for integration and diversity processes help to clear up misunderstandings and overcome prejudice. The Vienna Integration and Diversity Monitor, for example, serves this aim and illustrates the development of the Viennese society and the Vienna City Administration in these areas.

The forum wien.welt.offen is a platform supported jointly by the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), the Green Party, the Austrian Peoples’ Party (ÖVP) and the NEOS. In the forum, renowned persons and experts get involved to promote sustainable strategies for an open and cosmopolitan Vienna.

Human rights

As city of human rights Vienna stands for equal opportunities and inclusion and against discrimination, racism and xenophobia. Vienna therefore became a member of the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR) in 2007 and initiated the process "Vienna - city of human rights" in 2014, which culminated in the Vienna City Council adopting the declaration "Vienna – City of Human Rights" (500 KB PDF) in December 2014 and the opening of the Human Rights Office of the City of Vienna.

Contact for this page:
Goran Novakovic (Municipal Department 17)
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