Sarah from the Republic of Guinea poses for a picture in front of the portraits of employees displayed in the lobby of hotel Magdas in Vienna, Austria April 16, 2015. AFP/JOE KLAMAR
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Guests are not the only travelers at the recently opened Magdas design hotel in Vienna, a short hop from the Austrian capital's famous Prater green mile, and according to organizers, unique in Europe.Among the hotel's recruits – from 16 different nations and who between them speak 24 languages – is Maryam from Morocco, who arrived in Austria by foot via Turkey back in 2001 .After more than a decade of unemployment, no-one wanted to hire the refugee, who speaks five languages fluently including German.The situation remains dire for the 34,000 people currently applying for asylum in Austria, and for those who have been granted the right to stay.While current laws still forbid hiring those stuck in asylum limbo, the Magdas hotel has so far been able to employ 20 refugees who have been granted residency and to give traineeships to migrants under 18 .
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