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Charter-operation to Albania and Kosovo carried out by FRONTEX
Two Albanian and three Kosovar nationals were handed over from Austria to the authorities in Tirana and Pristina.
On November 17, 2021, a charter-return operation organized by Germany under the coordination of FRONTEX to Albania and Kosovo took place under special protective measures. A total of 63 persons were handed over to the authorities in Tirana and Pristina, including 2 Albanian and 3 Kosovar nationals from Austria. In addition to Germany and Austria, Sweden also participated in this charter operation.
The five individuals deported from Austria were exclusively foreign nationals whose legal proceedings had been concluded with a negative result. The admissibility of these expulsions was confirmed following a comprehensive examination process based on the rule of law.
Those deported did not fulfil their obligation to leave Austrian territory voluntarily within the set time limit. For this reason, the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) had enforced their return from the country in accordance with the relevant rules of the Aliens Police Act and in the spirit of a return policy based on the rule of law.
In addition, 2 of the persons removed from Austria committed criminal offenses during their stay in Austria and were convicted of various offenses. These offenses included aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, coercion, commercial theft and falsification of documents.
The return cooperation with countries of origin as well as the associated readmission of persons without a right of residence in Austria represents a core element of an orderly, credible migration system based on the rule of law. In principle, all countries of origin are obliged under international law to readmit their nationals. In this regard, there is an EU readmissions agreement with Albania and a bilateral readmissions agreement with Kosovo, both of which are implemented on an ongoing basis in good bilateral cooperation.
Voluntary departure is always given priority - also in compliance with corresponding European requirements - and voluntary return and reintegration are supported accordingly by the Federal Ministry of the Interior through a broad range of measures. Currently, there is a limited special offer with increased return assistance (for more information, see www.returnfromaustria.at).
In its primary responsibility for implementing the legislation relating to aliens, the Federal Ministry of Interior also maintains a close exchange with partners at the EU and international level and uses synergies in enabling coherent return operations. In order to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, security and preventive measures for returnees and escort personnel are continuously and in a forward-looking manner adapted to the applicable national, European and international regulations for all return operations (including hygiene measures, seating arrangements, COVID-19 testing, etc.).