Austria looking to cut benefits for non-German speaking foreigners, refugees

Foreigners in Austria will be prevented from claiming welfare payments unless they can speak German proficiently, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said: "The fundamental rule we will introduce is that German will become the key to accessing the full minimum benefit," noting that insufficient language skills would prevent foreigners from claiming the full minimum benefit.

Kurz said most recipients in the country, where Turks form the second largest ethnic group, on minimum welfare payment were in Vienna and roughly half of them were foreign citizens, which he described as "frightening".

The Austrian Chancellor's conservative government has taken a hardline stance on immigration and asylum-seekers since coming to power last year.

Kurz said that in the run up to Turkey’s June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections, Turkish politicians would not be allowed to campaign in Austria, which is home to around 500,000 Turks.