The Austrian Private Universities Conference (ÖPUK) has made its submission regarding vaccination, requesting consideration of the special situation for international students in relation to the mandatory vaccination mandate going into effect on February 1.
In light of recent developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, ÖPUK advocates for the general introduction of compulsory vaccination in order to achieve the high vaccination coverage in Austria. At the same time, ÖPUK asks for more clarity regarding fines and considerations for overseas students and faculty. They maintain that private universities should continue to be able to maintain their COVID-19 safety measures within the framework of their autonomy, even after the COVID-19 mandatory vaccination law has come into force, ensuring that students be able to continue and complete their studies in accordance with their training agreements.
In a statement issued January 5, 2022 addressing the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, ÖPUK recommends amendments to the draft federal law on compulsory vaccination against COVID-19, including aspects related to securing residency permits for Austria.
The recommendations highlight the complexity of the situation for foreign students who arrive in the country with a vaccination other than those recognized in Austria and have no possibility to get and register an EU-approved vaccination before the February 1 deadline. The statement calls for sufficient time to provide proof of vaccination recognized in Austria.
Additionally, the statement recognizes those who have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated in thier home country, and therefore are unable to provide proof of vaccination to the authority. It requests that those affected should have the opportunity to obtain a residence permit, enter the country and fulfill their vaccination obligation in Austria within three months without penalty during that period.
ÖPUK also requests that in addition to the maximum penalty of 3,600 euros, a minimum penalty should be specified. Students should be provided with information on how to get vaccinated in Austria ideally even before entering the country.
To read the statement in full, visit here.