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Austria enables young people to volunteer abroad through participation in the EU Programmes Erasmus+ (Erasmus+, formerly Jugend in Aktion) and European Solidarity Corps (Europäischer Solidaritätskorps). These programmes shall inspire active citizenship, solidarity and tolerance, and involve young people with the European Union. They encourage mobility, non-formal learning, intercultural dialogue and inclusion among young people. Since 2014, the new Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth, and sport has replaced Youth in Action.
On the national level, these programmes are implemented by the National Agency for Education and Internationalisation (Agentur für Bildung und Internationalisierung, OEAD) on behalf of the Federal government, particularly the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery.
In terms of evaluation, the National Agency for Education and Internationalisation (Agentur für Bildung und Internationalisierung, OEAD) publishes 'Numbers, data and facts' on Erasmus+ on a yearly basis as well as comprehensive information material, evaluations, reports and thematic monitoring (Publikationen). According to the most recent report (issue 06, 2019/20), in the term 2014 - 2020 a total of 4.061 projects was approved, 147.493 mobilities were executed, and € 270.524.560 were granted (projects amounting to a higher cost than the available EU funds were approved (overbooking) and compensated for by additional national funding from the Federal Ministry).
From 2018 - 2020 SALTO and the Intercultural Center(Interkulturelles Zentrum, IZ) accompanied the implementation of the 'European Solidarity Corps' on behalf of the EU Commission (Salto Resource Centre für das Europäische Solidaritätskorps). From 2007-2013, the ‘Research-based Analysis and Monitoring of the Youth in Action Programme’ (RAY) took place. The then National Agency was the Intercultural Center(Interkulturelles Zentrum, IZ). Monitoring was performed by the Institute of Educational Science at the University of Innsbruck, the Generation and Educational Science Institute in Austria, and the IZ.
Young people in Austria can also take part in the EU Aid Volunteers programme(soon to become 'Volunteering in humanitarian aid field'). It brings volunteers and organisations from different countries together, providing practical support to humanitarian aid projects and contributing to strengthening local capacity and resilience of disaster-affected communities. Participants must be over 18 years and a citizen of an EU Member State or a long-term EU resident.
Several organisations are (co-)funded by the Erasmus+ programme. An example is the international organisation VIDES, originally founded in Italy by the Don Bosco sisters with an office in Austria. This organisation offers volunteer placements around the world to support young people by young volunteers.
- The non-profit association Austrian Service Abroad (Österreichischer Auslandsdienst) is a host organisation which allows Austrians to work at Austrian Holocaust Memorial Services, Austrian Social Services or Austrian Peace Services in foreign countries. It is an organization acknowledged by the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, and receives funds by Erasmus+ and the Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery.
- Its Austrian Social Service offers many different projects all over the world. Within in the framework of the international development cooperation, social servants are able to serve their civilian service abroad for 12 months. The tasks depend on the circumstances of the deployment location and may vary in a number of ways. The focus of the Austrian Social Service lies heavily, with a few exceptions, on emerging countries in Central- and South America, Africa and Asia.
- The purpose of the Austrian Peace Service is to support people in their endeavour against conflicts and tensions. An Austrian Peace Servant works on projects which are concerned with securing peace in conflict areas by analyzing the human rights situation, organizing workshops and trying to take measures like mediating between the conflict parties.
- The Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service deals mainly with victims of National Socialism. Servants work at commemoration sites of the Holocaust, museums and historical research institutes such as Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the Jewish Museum Berlin, and the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest. The work at the various locations consists mainly of designing and organizing guided tours, editing archives, lecturing in universities and schools and interviewing contemporary witnesses to preserve their experiences for future generations.
- The independent non-profit association Memorial Service (Gedenkdienst) organises Holocaust memorial services placements around the world.
- The publically subsidised Austrian NGO Grenzenlos offers a large variety of programs with the main aim of promoting peace and tolerance through international non-formal education programmes that combine cultural integration with engagement in non-profit initiatives worldwide. It realises the platform volunteering.at and organises voluntary services in Africa, Asia, Anglo-America, Europa, Latin-American and Oceania. Further programmes:
- VOLONTARIAT bewegt('Volunteering moves') is an initiative of Jugend Eine Welt and the Salesians of Don Bosco. The organisation is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and both private and Church initiatives, offering voluntary services in Latin America, Asia and Africa for young people.
- DKA Austria is the development cooperation agency of the Catholic Children's Movement of Austria (Katholische Jungschar). It facilitates placements and volunteer posts in partner organisations for 3 months and longer. Voluntary placements are meant for people of at least 20 years of age interested in development cooperation.
Visas for stays of more than three months are not required for citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), large parts of Eastern Europe, Israel, U.S.A, Canada, the majority of Central and South American nations, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, or New Zealand. All other nationalities require a visa.
A residence permit is issued to foreign nationals who want to stay in Austria for more than six months.
Regulations for social services for Employees:
- Maximum validity 1 year (no extension possible)
- If the social service is not subject to the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals and is provided by a non-partisan and charitable non-profit organisation
- If the services are not provided for pecuniary gain
- A liability declaration from the sponsor organisation the social service employee is working for must be provided