World

Austria stops processing new asylum requests to pressure other countries to take more refugees

Austria has stopped processing new asylum requests while continuing to deport refugees.

State-run broadcaster ORF cites an Interior Ministry document that it says was issued Friday to civil servants dealing with asylum requests telling them not to accept new cases.

ORF says the document instructs relevant departments to continue deporting those whose asylum requests were rejected. It also says others are being returned to EU countries they first arrived to before coming to Austria.

The broadcaster quotes Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner as saying Austria has become the "No. 1 target country" for would-be asylum seekers. It says the move is meant to put pressure on other EU countries to take more would-be immigrants ahead of an interior ministers' meeting next week.