• Kyodo


Austria’s stricter immigration controls are jeopardizing classes at the Japanese School in Vienna, as two teachers failed to obtain visas before their visa-free stays in the country expired Saturday.

The school, which has six other full-time teachers dispatched from Japan and a few locally hired part-time teachers, said it will try to cope by asking the remaining staff to cover more lessons while looking for students’ parents with teacher’s licenses who can help.

Two teachers who arrived in Austria last spring had been working under the bilateral visa exemption arrangements permitting stays of up to six months while waiting for long-term visas to be issued.

Austria has tightened rules for issuing visas for all foreigners this year amid rising unemployment and growing complaints over generous measures to protect refugees.

Since the spring, immigration authorities have necessitated foreigners to take out public insurance, which costs €200-€300 (about ¥26,500-¥40,000) per month for a family of a Japanese school teacher.

But as that insurance takes six months to become effective after being obtained, local authorities also have required foreigners buy private insurance to cover the blank period.

That means a Japanese teacher’s family must pay up to €1,300 (about ¥170,000) monthly for insurance, which proved too expensive for the two teachers who consequently failed to obtain visas before the expiration of their visa-free stays.

Further tightening immigration control, the authorities also began obligating foreign workers and their spouses on Oct. 1 to submit papers certifying basic proficiency in German or diplomas from secondary education schools.

Established in 1978, the Japanese School in Vienna currently has 46 students in its elementary and junior high school divisions.

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