A criminal record can have very unpleasant consequences and can have a lasting impact on your life for years to come. What impact can a criminal record have on the right of residence of immigrants?
Criminal law consequences of a car accident
Rajid is an Indian citizen and has been working as a highly qualified IT specialist in Austria for several years and lives here with his family. He has a red-white-red card plus, owns a flat for which he is paying off a loan and is provided with an SUV as a company car by his employer.
One evening, after the departmental Christmas party at his company, Rajid drives home from his office in his company car. He has to drive a short distance on the motorway. Because he has had a stressful week and also had a glass of wine at the party, Rajid accidentally takes the wrong lane on the motorway slip road and ends up driving the motorway in the wrong direction. Just a few seconds after joining the motorway, Rajid realises his mistake and wants to stop and turn around, but it’s too late. Rajid collides head-on with a small car in his SUV. While Rajid is able to get out of his vehicle unharmed, the driver of the small car dies at the scene of the accident.
Due to his alcoholisation, even if only slight, Rajid is sentenced by a criminal court to a fine for negligent homicide and therefore has a criminal record. How does this affect his right of residence in Austria?
Criminal record and public order and safety
The immigration authorities are obliged to check whether the issuing a residence permit is contrary to the public interest. This is the case, among other things, if the stay would endanger public order or security. If the applicant already has a criminal record in their country of origin (the authority always requires an extract from the criminal record of the country of origin and those countries in which the applicant has lived for more than 6 months), the authority must draw up a risk prognosis. In doing so, it must take into account the specific misconduct that resulted in the previous conviction. However, the threat to public order and safety may not only be due to criminal convictions. Reports alone can also be sufficient for the immigration authorities to assume a threat to public order and security.
A criminal conviction that occurs after a residence title has been issued can have an impact on the renewal of an existing residence title, as the immigration authorities also examine in a renewal or change of purpose case whether the residence is contrary to public interests. On the other hand, a residence title that has already been issued can also be revoked if the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum has issued a return decision and a threat to public order and security can be assumed as a result. Here too, the nature and seriousness of the offence on which the crime is based and the resulting personality profile must be assessed. However, the revocation of the residence permit can be prevented even in the event of a threat to public order and security if this would interfere with the constitutionally protected right to private and family life.
In view of the fact that Rajid, apart from this conviction, has not shown any conspicuous behaviour towards the authorities and that he also admitted his guilt during the criminal proceedings, took responsibility for his crime and attended addiction therapy, the immigration authorities do not assume that there is a threat to public safety. Rajid’s current residence permit will therefore not be revoked and he still has the chance to obtain a permanent residence permit in Austria as soon as he has been resident in Austria for at least 5 years.