Expats who are not citizens of EU-member states must obtain a work permit to legally take up employment in Austria. This is not a straightforward process, due to the fact there are a number of different types of work permits available depending on an expat's field of work and their level of skill and qualifications.
It is important to note that expats from non EU-member states must apply for the relevant entry visa or work permit at the Austrian embassy or consulate in their home country prior to travelling to Austria.
Work permits for skilled workers - EU Blue Card
This is a residence and work permit which allows highly qualified non-EU citizens to live and work in Austria for a period of up to two years. To be eligible for an EU Blue Card expats must have a confirmed job offer in Austria. Furthermore, this type of work permit will only be granted if the AMS (Austrian Labour Market Service) is satisfied that the company could not find a suitable Austrian or EU citizen to do the job specified within the contract.
Applicants for an EU Blue Card must have completed a university degree course of at least three years. Their qualifications must match the job profile and the salary specified in the contract must be at least one and half times higher than the average yearly income of full-time workers in Austria.
The processing time for an EU Blue Card in Austria is usually around eight weeks.
Work permits for key workers - Red-White-Red Card
This type of work permit is granted to foreigners who qualify as ‘key workers’ in Austria and allows the holder to live and work in the country for two years. In order to qualify for key worker status, expats must score adequately on a points-based immigration system, be highly qualified and skilled in a shortage occupation, a self-employed key worker or a graduate in certain fields from an Austrian university.
After 21 months Red-White-Red cardholders are also eligible to apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus. This gives expats free access to the labour market
Jobseeker visas for Austria
This type of work permit is aimed at highly qualified non-EU citizens who want to work in Austria but have not yet secured a job and therefore cannot apply for an EU Blue Card or a Red-White-Red Card.
Under a Jobseeker Visa, an expat is allowed to visit Austria with the purpose of finding and securing a job, but it does not allow them to work. Once expats have secured a suitable position, they must still apply for a relevant work permit.
As with the Red-White-Red Card, the Jobseeker Visa utilises a points-based system that applicants must satisfy to be eligible for this visa.
*Visa requirements can change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.