IMF sees migration crisis lifting Austrian economic growth

Members of Turkish Coastal Guard ship UMUT register Syrian migrants after capturing a boat carrying them as they attempt to reach Greek Island Chios at the Agean Sea in Cesme district near Izmir, coastal city of Turkey, early Dec 10, 2015.
Members of Turkish Coastal Guard ship UMUT register Syrian migrants after capturing a boat carrying them as they attempt to reach Greek Island Chios at the Agean Sea in Cesme district near Izmir, coastal city of Turkey, early Dec 10, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

VIENNA (Reuters) - The wave of refugees flooding into Austria could bolster the country's economic growth if Vienna continues to work on integrating them quickly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday (Dec 14).

Hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere, have reached Austria since early September, most continuing on into neighbouring Germany.

A fraction, however, have stayed - the IMF said 80,000 to 90,000 asylum applications were expected this year, a number equivalent to about 1 per cent of the population, and a similar number was expected next year.

"While still in early stages, measures to integrate refugees are timely and well-targeted," the IMF said in a statement on the conclusion of an official staff visit, which usually happens once a year.