Up to 200,000 Austrians are full-time illicit workers

Around one million Austrians now and then work illegally, according to a new study.Friedrich Schneider of the Johannes Kepler University in Linz said today (Tues) that a million of the overall 8.5 million Austrians occasionally work without letting labour officials and insurance companies know of their activities.The university professor explained “around 100,000 to 200,000” Austrians were “full-time illicit workers”, most of them unemployed people and labourers who have taken early retirement.The value of illegal work in Austria is around 20 billion Euros or eight per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) this year, according to Schneider, who believes the recovery of the economy has led to a slight decline of unregistered labour.Schneider said the vast majority of illegal work would occur in the construction sector. Speaking about Austria’s nine provinces, the professor said Vienna and Upper Austria were most affected overall, while the province of Burgenland registered the lowest level of illicit work.”Illegal work is considered as a trivial offence by many Austrians,” Schneider criticised. He pointed out that neighbourly help could not be checked or fined.Bulgaria is hit worst by rampant illicit work in Europe, according to international research, followed by Romania, Croatia and Lithuania.Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Financial Affairs State Secretary Reinhold Lopatka announced recently more than 7,800 complaints over companies employing unregistered staff have been made to labour courts and state prosecutors across the country last year. Detectives sent out by the ministry caught almost 11,300 illegally assigned workers in 2010, he added.Companies of various branches try to evade paying taxes and insurance costs by employing Austrians and foreigners illegally. The Republic of Austria loses out on hundreds of millions of Euros of tax revenues every year due to the rampant illicit business operations.Reports that around one in eight Austrians now and then work illegally comes just weeks after a study revealed that every eleventh Austrian bribed authorities in 2009. Experts stressed that many more might have done so but did not admit it.Transparency International (TI), a non-government organisation (NGO), said it also found 49 per cent of people living in Austria believe corruption is set to soar.The nine per cent of Austrians admitting corrupt actions stand in stark contrast to the European Union (EU) average of just five per cent. Denmark, Norway and Great Britain did best with bribe rates of zero to one per cent, while Lithuania (34 per cent) was found to be bottom in the EU.