The immigration policies of Kurz have been seen as a “cure” to help solve the European immigration crisis. Kurz’s plan was extremely far off of the beaten path from other European policies and ideas to curtail this issue. His philosophy was neither leaning left nor right, he took a third path: focusing on integration, and the Balkans. Kurz understood that he couldn’t welcome all immigrants into his small country nor could he cut them all off. 1 in 5 people in his country of Austria were born outside Austria, so he realized he had a duty to welcome these outsiders. Therefore, his new policy became “a sort of microcosm or petri dish for the demographic remaking of Europe.” A core to his immigration policy became his emphasis on assimilation. Therefore, he laid the groundwork to effectively integrate these refugees into Austria. This began with minimizing the number of immigrants. His policy showed that if there are too many refugees, due to the mere size of Austria, they would be unable to reach out and help these people. These numbers which reach approximately 10,000 people coming into the European Union daily. As a result, Kurz curtailed the mass influx of people coming from the Balkan region – the main source of a majority of the country’s immigrants. The Balkan agreement was made with Austria’s neighboring countries, making huge strides to minimize incoming numbers not only into Austria but across the European Union as well. Within Austria this resulted in less than 1,000 people coming into the country daily. Then, to continue along these lines, an agreement was made with Turkey which further decreased the influx to less than one hundred people a day. One hundred people a day was a number which Austria was much more equipped to handle.
While reducing the numbers, Kurz also set integration policies in place. Still understanding the importance of the Balkan region, integration officers were sent to this area to work with immigrants. Specifically, officers were sent to countries such as Turkey and Serbia. Kurz strongly believes, that countries “need to work with other countries and reach out to immigrants before they come … so that they can understand their rights and obligations.” Additionally, when he was the Secretary of Integration at the age of 25, he created education policies to ramp up early childhood education. Setting standards for entering elementary school knowing Germany was extremely important to integration, as emphasized by Kurz.
All of these ideas and policies were extremely unconventional, resulting in apprehension and even opposition from European powerhouses such as Germany for a good period of time. But, more recently, these countries have jumped on board and now this policy even garners support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As he continues to gain political footing and support as a result of these bold policies, Kurz is predicted to be a viable candidate for Austrian prime minister in the near future.