Archive / Immigrant Labor Issues

Nr. 249 / 1995 / Austria

Immigrant Labor Issues




In order to pursue an occupation legally in Austria, foreigners must have a work permit. At the time of the project, the Minister of Social Affairs set a yearly quota for the number of work permits issued. The group used the special arrangement for foreign “artists” (that allowed artists to remain in the country without a work permit as long as they could prove that they lived from their artistic activity). Seven immigrants were commissioned to produce "Social Sculptures". It was necessary to find patrons who would provide the “artists” with an income by commissioning them. The commissions and their honoraria provided the proof of income required for the refugees to take advantage of the exception made for artists. Each Social Sculpture would consist of preparing aid materials for relief efforts.




Circumventing strict legislation concerning foreigners.

Beneficial outcomes

The project assured the participants legal residency in Austria. Afterward the materials were transported to their destinations by relief organizations. Through the project the refugees secured legal residency in Austria for one year. Several of them (especially the Bosnians) later returned to their home countries. One of the participants married in Austria, and two others obtained further commissions as artists.

Maintained by



Wochenklausur, seven immigrants that participated, relief organizations, families of kurdish cities of Dohuk, Erbil and Sulemanija, Childrens of Bonia and students of the University of Graz.