Vienna immigrants vital for city’s service industries says AMS boss Johannes Kopf – without them they would collapse

A large percentage of people working in industries all over Vienna are immigrants

As an immigrant living in Austria for the last almost seven years myself, I am always interested when I meet some of the many other immigrants living in Vienna.

People I come across in my daily life in the Austrian capital city who originated from countries like Turkey, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Iran and Thailand, and have now made their home in Austria.

The large number of immigrants in Vienna, however, shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. Not when official figures released in 2021 showed 41.9% of people living in Vienna were foreign-born.

Especially, as Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) boss Johannes Kopf recently announced, one third of all employees in Vienna have foreign nationality.

Foreign nationals who, according to an article in Der Standard this week, have basically saved the Vienna service system from collapse.

As Johannes Kopf stated, if Vienna in particular had not allowed the immigration that the city has, most of the city’s public services would either no longer exist, or be in dire straits.

Those services include water, waste and sewage, whose industries’ employees are 44 percent foreign nationals.

They also include the Vienna construction industry, whose employees are made up of 57 percent immigrants, restaurants and cafes with 62 percent immigrant staff, trade, maintenance and repair industries with 39 percent foreign workers, and even the domestic help sector, which is made up of 59 percent of people who were born somewhere other than Austria.

Without those immigrants, all of those industries would be substantially smaller and likely struggling, on life-support, or already six feet under.

Thanks to Austria’s relatively progressive immigration system, however, not only has Vienna’s service sector survived, it has thrived.

Something that means, unlike Japan, whose authorities seem intent on letting the country’s population not only decrease but rapidly age, Austrian authorities realize without a steady or growing population, the only way forward for the country, and specifically for its capital city Vienna, would be down.

As an immigrant who was given the opportunity to not only move to Vienna, but to thrive in Vienna, I am probably just one of hundreds of thousands who are grateful for that foresight.

About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.