History of the ÖIF
The Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) was founded in 1960 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BM.I) under the name United Nations Refugee Fund (Flüchtlingsfonds der Vereinten Nationen). The Hungarian crisis in 1956 and the resulting wave of refugees made it clear that Austria needs an appropriate institutional framework to support refugees. Following its separation from the Federal Ministry of the Interior in 1991, the year 2002 was a milestone in the history of the ÖIF; from then on the ÖIF's service spectrum was systematically broadened.
- Since 2002 the ÖIF has shared responsibility for the implementation of the Integration Agreement.
- Through the opening of integration houses in Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria, and Upper Austria, supported living opportunities for people granted asylum were systematically expanded. The number of individual support services for people granted asylum in Austria grew every year.
- In 2004 the ÖIF took over the implementation of the European Refugee Fund (EFF) projects in Austria.
- Since the winter of 2004/05 the ÖIF has been issuing scholarships for non-degree study programs (Liese Prokop Stipendium) to people granted asylum on behalf of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
- The ÖIF has been pressing forward with the project "Mobile Integration Support" (Mobilen Integrationsbetreuung) since 2006. In 2007 the Upper Styria Integration Center was opened in Bruck an der Mur as the first base for this in Austria.
- In early 2006 the ÖIF opened the Job Center in its building on Schlachthausgasse in Vienna's third district. In the summer of 2007 further Job Centers followed in the Upper Styria Integration Center and in the new Upper Austria Integration Center.
- Since 2006 the ÖIF has been entrusted with the accounting and assessment of early language support, which prepares children with linguistic deficits for the challenges of schoool beginning at pre-school age.
- Since 2006 the ÖIF has been actively informing the Austrian public about challenges connected with migration and integration. One of the projects is the magazine "Integration im Fokus", as well as numerous events.
- In 2006 the ÖIF started the continuing education programs "Migrationsmanagement" (Migration Management) and "Interkulturelles Konfliktmanagement" (Intercultural Conflict Management) for people who deal with integration issues at work.
- In 2006 the ÖIF also demonstrated innovative strength in the field of education with projects supporting the language skills of children and adolescents (ex. book projects, sharing Austrian linguistic culture through music) and with corresponding teaching materials.
- Since the summer of 2007 the ÖIF has been supporting scientific analysis of migration and integration of refugees and migrants with its own research team (project examples: Statistikjahrbuch Integration, "Chechens in the European Union" collection, Soziale Infrastruktur in Tschetschenien, Basiswörterbuch Tschetschenisch-Deutsch).
- In 2007 the ÖIF began to address the positive integration potential of sports with the Sport Project and the integration prize for sports was awarded for the first time.
- In 2008 the ÖIF opened integration centers in Tyrol and Vienna.
- In addition to the European Refugee Fund, the ÖIF has also been responsible for the execution of the European Integration Fund since 2008.