HIAS runs the U.S. government's Resettlement Support Center (formerly known as the Overseas Processing Entity) in Vienna, Austria, where it helps religious minorities from Iran come to the U.S.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), HIAS operates the sole refugee processing entity in Austria. HIAS provides processing assistance and cultural orientation to U.S.-bound Iranian religious minorities seeking a safe haven from persecution, including Jews, Baha’is, Christians, Zoroastrians, and Sabaean Mandaeans.

Austria Resettlement Support Center (RSC Austria)

Religious minorities in Iran report being victims of imprisonment, harassment, and intimidation based on their religious beliefs. They face restrictions in government, business, the legal system, marriage, employment, and higher education.

Since 1983, the HIAS office in Austria has been the first stop for Iranian minorities seeking to escape this oppressive way of life for freedom and security in the United States. HIAS holds a contract with the U.S. Department of State to manage RSC Austria for applicants to the U.S. Refugee Program.

The primary activities of RSC Austria are:

  • assisting applicants to the U.S. Refugee Program in completing applications for consideration;
  • assisting the U.S. Government in the processing of these applications;
  • coordinating sponsorship arrangements with U.S. resettlement agencies once an applicant is admitted into the program.

RSC Austria Cultural Orientation Program

Pre-arrival cultural orientation training in Vienna provides refugees with the tools and information they will need to begin new lives in the United States.

Classes are designed to dispel misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about the culture and society they are about to join; provide accurate information about the country of resettlement; and inform refugees about social and community services available to them. Other topics covered include refugees' rights and responsibilities, laws, cultural norms and values of the receiving country, and information regarding transit.