The city of Linz in Austria is hiring people to find individuals who are not vaccinated and ensure they pay a fine after the country announced a sweeping nationwide vaccine mandate.
As of Feb. 1, all people who have a place of residence in Austria and are aged 14 and over will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Those who do not comply will face fines of up to 3,600 euros ($4,071) over 12 months, although income and other financial obligations will be taken into account in calculating fines. Alternatively, officials may impose a fine of up to 600 euros (about $680) in shortened proceedings.
Ahead of the vaccination deadline, the city of Linz in Upper Austria is now hiring people to ensure the unvaccinated pay their fines.
According to a job advertisement posted on the City Council of Linz official website, the role pays a monthly salary of at least 2,774 euros ($3,126), and duties include preparing penal orders for the unvaccinated, processing appeals against the order, taking measures against those who fail to pay the fines, and other administrative tasks.
The opening line of the advertisement says the job is well suited for people who “enjoy working with legislation and administrative procedures.”
Candidates must have completed high school, have basic IT skills, and be resilient, precise, and capable of working independently. They must also be happy to work overtime when needed.
The job is only open to Austrian citizens and they must, of course, be vaccinated.
Linz, which has a population of roughly 200,000, has the lowest vaccination rate in the whole of Austria, with only 63 percent of residents being doubly vaccinated, Blick reported, citing official government data.
Austria is the first European country to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The country’s health minister shared details of the government-imposed mandate earlier this month and said that authorities will write to unvaccinated people every three months, reminding them to get their shots or get a doctor to certify their right to an exemption before the next cutoff date.
Those who do not comply will be fined every three months. If they can produce proof of vaccination, proceedings will be dropped against the individuals in the meantime.
“[The] procedure amounts to up to €3,600 [$4,071]—taking into account the income and financial circumstances,” minister Wolfgang Mueckstein said. “Unvaccinated people are reminded every quarter to be vaccinated until the next ‘vaccination deadline’ or to register a reason for an exception.”
Pregnant women, children under age 14, and Austrians who cannot get the shot for health reasons will be exempt from the requirement.
The vaccine mandate sparked nationwide protests while thousands of demonstrators gathered in Vienna, the country’s capital, to protest the measure. The leader of the Freedom Party of Austria Herbert Kickl has called for resistance to the policy, and said that the government’s plans amount to an “assault on humanity.”
Meanwhile, the country reimposed a lockdown last month amid a wave of new COVID-19 infections. While officials eased those lockdown restrictions last week for vaccinated residents, unvaccinated residents were still subject to stringent measures.
However, Mueckstein said last Friday that those restrictions against the unvaccinated would be temporarily loosened over Christmas and New Year thanks to a decline in infections.
“Christmas should show us once again how important contact with our loved ones is and how precious time together is,” the health minister said.
Unvaccinated Austrians will be granted an exception to join gatherings of up to 10 people from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26 and on Dec. 31.
“We have in recent weeks gained an advantage that we want to use. We want to use it to take a moment to pause over Christmas to remember what is really important,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.