Austria has passed tough new asylum measures which could be activated if politicians decree public order is threatened.

The measures include a process under which migrants could be turned away at the border within an hour.

Austria has mostly served as a conduit into Germany for refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa, but it has also absorbed around 100,000 asylum seekers since last summer.

After initially welcoming refugees, the government capped the number of asylum claims it would accept this year to 37,500.

It has received more than 16,000 claims since the beginning of the year.

Austria has also been imposing restrictions on movement, including coordinating border closures with nearby Balkan countries over the past months.

It is now preparing stricter border controls at the important Brenner crossing with Italy.

While Austria's approach has angered other European Union states, Vienna says it is necessary to safeguard public order.

To make use of the new measures, the government will require parliament to confirm that public order and security are under threat.

Under a clause that then becomes active, asylum will only be granted to people who are likely to suffer persecution if they are sent back to the country they come from and refugees who already have close family members living in Austria.

It makes Austria one of the countries with the toughest asylum rules in Europe, prompting Human Rights Watch to call it "a blow to the rights of asylum seekers".