As part of the multinational Habsburg Empire, Austria has historically absorbed a wide variety of immigrants and temporary foreign residents. The Habsburg court drew countless “foreigners” into its service, including some very noteworthy ones: Eugene of Savoy, the greatest military commander that the dynasty ever had, was one; another was the statesman and diplomat Prince Klemens von Metternich, from the Rhineland in Germany. Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, Italians, Croatians, Spaniards, Netherlanders, and Jews were also, at one time or another, advisors, ministers, and various kinds of aids to Habsburg rulers and their families. Commercial relations in the 17th and 18th centuries with southeastern Europe also brought Turkish and other Levantine merchants to Vienna, some of whom stayed on.
   Mass internal immigration to the Austrian lands in the multinational Habsburg state was a by-product of 19th-century industrialization. People of many linguistic backgrounds sought factory and construction jobs, small handicraft work, or domestic service in Vienna and just beyond the city in Lower Austria. The largest number of new arrivals to Vienna as its population grew sharply toward the end of the 19th century came from Bohemia and Moravia. By 1900, there were around 100,000 in the city, along with substantial numbers of Poles, Italians, Hungarians, and Germans from the north. Within two to three generations, these groups were largely German-speaking and assimilated.
   A steady immigration flow went on from after World War I until about 1935. Between 1919 and 1936, 234,000 foreigners had become Austrian citizens, though not always by the same procedure. Many were from one-time lands of the Habsburg monarchy, though these numbers were somewhat offset by people who chose to leave Austria to become nationals in the new sovereign states of east central and southeastern Europe. Especially striking, in view of their later history in Austria, was the number of Jews, who had begun fleeing pogroms in Galicia in 1914–1915. By 1925, 21,000 Jews had been naturalized.
   The tectonic political and demographic shifts in Europe after World War II brought masses of economic and political refugees to Austria along with large numbers of formal asylum supplicants. Most were from Eastern Europe. Almost 400,000 ethnic Germans came from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Around 29,000 Hungarians remained after fleeing their failed uprising in 1956. The Soviet suppression of Czechoslovakia’s deviant communist regime in 1968 sent a substantial groups of Czechs over their border westward; Poland’s introduction of martial rule in 1981–1982 to put down labor unrest resulted in a community of about 24,000 Poles in Austria. The militarized breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s added around 56,000 Yugoslavs to an already large community.
   By 1990, Austria had absorbed around 650,000 foreigners into a population of about 7,250,000. Swelling the former figure considerably, though accidentally, were around 260,000 “guest workers.” Most of these were from Turkey and Yugoslavia, and their jobs allowed them to remain indefinitely. All in all, 10 percent of the Austrian population in 1993 had been born outside of the country. The countries of origin for Austria’s immigrants were even then changing. In 2001, roughly one-third of Austria’s foreigners had come from Muslim communities around the world. The largest number were still from Turkey and Bosnia, but more were coming from the Middle East and North Africa. About 80,000 had become citizens. Nor were these changes domestically tension free. Even in the early 1990s, many Austrians had deep worries about the impact of continued immigration on their extensive social welfare programs and on their cultural and political norms. Membership in the European Union and the opening of borders to one another’s citizens, a condition that Austria accepted in principle in 1997, provoked much concern about an influx of impoverished and cheap labor into the country, particularly from eastern and southeastern Europe. The Freedom Party of Austria has remained particularly vociferous on the subject. Under such pressures, Austria has continued to require 10 years of continued residence before an alien may apply for citizenship, though there are stated exceptions to this rule. He or she must also have completed state-supported German-language instruction and citizenship training courses. Voters, however, had discovered by 2006 that illegal aliens have their uses, particularly for domestic home care.
   See also Islam; Schüssel, Wolfgang.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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