"Easy-to-read" information is available in German.

Jump to content | Jump to help navigation | Jump to main navigation | Jump to sub navigation | Jump to services | Jump to search | Jump to hotline | Jump to footer

  • Switching to easy reading
  • Change font size
  • Contrast view normal
  • Contrast view black-yellow
  • Contrast view blue-white

Types of immigration

What is the Red-White-Red Card?

The Red-White-Red Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. It is valid for two years and entitles you as the holder to settlement and employment with a specific employer. If you change your employer within the first two years, you have to apply for a new Red-White-Red Card.

What is the Red-White-Red Card plus?

The Red-White-Red Card plus is issued in the shape of a bank card and entitles its holder to settlement and unrestricted employment. If you are the holder of a Red-White-Red Card plus, you may change your employer at any time without having to apply for a new permit.

If you held a Red-White-Red Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed in accordance with the eligibility requirements for a minimum of 21 months during the previous 24 months.

Family members of Red-White-Red Card holders and of holders of an EU Blue Card may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus right away.

What is the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. If you are the holder of an EU Blue Card, you are entitled to temporary settlement and to employment with a specific employer. It is issued for a validity period of two years.
If you held an EU Blue Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed for at least 21 months during the previous 24 months in a job matching your qualification.

What is the Job Seeker Visa for Very Highly Qualified Workers?

Workers are considered very highly qualified if they reach at least 70 out of 100 points according to a list of criteria (points system). The Red-White-Red Card category "Very Highly Qualified Workers" seeks to attract very highly qualified and experienced top-level personnel, such as scientists and senior-level top-managers.

If you qualify as a very highly qualified worker and you have not yet found an employer in Austria, you may apply for a six-month residence visa for your job search (Job Seeker Visa). If you find a job matching your qualification during the validity period of your visa, you may apply for the Red-White-Red Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers.

The application for the Job Seeker Visa for Very Highly Qualified Workers must be filed with the competent Austrian representation (embassy or consulate) abroad.

What happens if I do not find employment during the validity period of my Job Seeker Visa?

If you are a Very Highly Qualified Worker and you do not find employment matching your qualification within the six-month validity period of your Job Seeker Visa, you are required to leave Austria. You can apply for a new Job Seeker Visa only after a waiting period of 12 months.

What happens if my application is not processed before my Job Seeker Visa expires?

If your visa expires before your application has been properly processed, you are required to leave Austria and await the final decision abroad.

I do not fall under the category of “Very Highly Qualified Workers”. Is it still possible for me to receive a Job Seeker Visa?

No, this special visa is exclusively for persons who qualify as Very Highly Qualified Workers. However, if you are allowed to enter Austria under a visa-free regime, you do not need a Job Seeker Visa. You may look for employment during your lawful visa-free stay in Austria and if you find a job matching your qualification, you may apply for the Red-White-Red Card during this period here in Austria.

Who may apply?

Who may apply for a Red-White-Red Card?

The Red-White-Red Card is a combination of residence permit and employment permit for qualified third-country workers. It is available for the following groups of applicants:

  1. Very Highly Qualified Workers
  2. Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations
  3. Other Key Workers
  4. Graduates of Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria
  5. Self-employed Key Worker
  6. Start-up Founders

I scored enough points on the points calculator. Does this mean I automatically qualify for a Red-White-Red Card or a Job Seeker Visa for Very Highly Qualified Workers?

The points calculator is a tool for you to estimate your eligibility. As a service for your first orientation only, it does not constitute an application and it does not replace the evaluation by the Austrian authorities. The result of this calculator is based on your personal self-assessment and may differ from the formal assessment. It does not constitute an application and does not replace the evaluation by the Austrian authorities. The authorities will assess your eligibility based on the documents you submitted. Besides reaching the points required for admission and meeting the general granting requirements, you also need an  employment offer with an Austrian employer (meeting the Austrian wage and working conditions) to be able to apply for a Red-White-Red Card.

Who may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus?

1. Family members of 

  • holders of a “Red-White-Red Card” or an “EU Blue Card”,
  • third-country nationals with a long-term residence title in Austria,
  • certain holders of a “Red-White-Red Card plus” (who formerly had a “Red-White-Red Card“ or a “Settlement Permit – Researchers”),
  • holders of a „Settlement Permit for Self-Employed Persons” („Niederlassungsbewilligung für selbständige Schlüsselkräfte“),
  • certain holders of a „Settlement Permit - Special Cases of Dependent Gainful Occupation” („Niederlassungsbewilligung – Sonderfälle unselbständiger Erwerbstätigkeit“) and
  • holders of a „Settlement Permit – Researchers” („Niederlassungsbewilligung – Forscher“)

2. 2-year holders of a Red-White-Red – Card after a period of 24 months, if they were employed with the same employer for a minimum of 21 months in a profession matching their qualification 

3. 2-year holders of an EU Blue Card after a period of 24 months, if they have been employed for at least 21 months in a profession matching their qualification 

4. Persons seeking to switch to one of the following other residence titles: “Settlement Permit– Researchers” (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – Forscher”), Settlement Permit (“Niederlassungsbewilligung”), or “Settlement Permit – Dependant” (“Niederlassungsbewilligung – Angehöriger”). 

If you belong to one of these groups, you can obtain the residence title “Red-White-Red Card plus“, provided you also meet the general granting requirements.

You can find more information on the Red-White-Red Card plus here.

Who is a family member?

Family members are defined as:
1.
spouses
2.
registered partners of the same sex
3.
minor children, including adopted children and stepchildren (up to the age of 18).

At the time of filing the application, spouses and registered partners must be 21 years of age.

Employer

What happens if I want to change my employer?

If you have a Red-White-Red Card and you want to change your employer, you have to apply for a new Red-White-Red Card. The Public Employment Service (AMS) will examine whether you meet the criteria regarding your new employment. However, you do not have to undergo the points system again. 

If you are the holder of an EU Blue Card, you can only change your employer if you receive another EU Blue Card for the new employment. The AMS will examine whether you meet the criteria regarding your new employment. 

If you already have a Red-White-Red Card plus, you may change your employer at any time and you are not restricted to a particular place of employment. 

Can I apply for a Red-White-Red Card even if I do not have an employer in Austria?

No, you need an employer in Austria in order to apply for a Red-White-Red Card. A special rule applies if you qualify as a Very Highly Qualified Worker. In this case, you do not need an employer right away. Instead, you can apply for a Job Seeker Visa which allows you to look for work in Austria for six months. If - within the validity period of this visa - you find an employer in Austria offering you employment matching your qualification (a valid work contract must be submitted), you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card. For more information regarding the Job Seeker Visa, please refer to the question chapter “Types of immigration” above. 

Can I apply for a Red-White-Red Card if I will be employed with several employers?

No, a Red-White-Red Card is issued for employment with one specific employer only.

Filing of applications

Do I already have to furnish proof of locally customary accommodation at the time of application?

Yes, already at the time of application, you have to furnish proof of a legal title to an accommodation in Austria that is considered adequate according to local standards. This legal title may be, for example, a rental contract for an apartment, a sublease, a (legally binding) preliminary contract, or even property. A mere statement of intent (e.g. a friend stating “He or she may live at my place”) is not sufficient. 

Do I already have to furnish proof of health insurance coverage at the time of application?

Yes, already at the time of application, you have to furnish proof of health insurance coverage that provides benefits in Austria and covers all risks. The authorities will accept travel health insurance, provided it covers costs well above € 30,000 and includes a guarantee covering potential rescue and return costs. After receiving your Red-White-Red Card and taking up your employment, you will be covered by Austrian statutory insurance. 

How long does the application process take?

The entire application process takes approximately eight weeks, depending on the completeness of the application and the documents submitted, as well as the authority's resources.

What are the fees?

Job Seeker Visa: The fee is € 100. 
Red-White-Red Card: The fee is € 100 (€ 80 at the time of application, € 20 at issuance).
Red-White-Red Card plus: The fee is € 100 (€ 80 at the time of application, € 20 at issuance).
EU Blue Card: The fee is €100 (€ 80 at the time of application, € 20 at issuance).
In addition: Costs of personalisation (acceptance of photograph and signature): € 20

Which documents do I need for the application?

Please download the information sheet „Documents required for the Job Seeker Visa and the Red-White-Red Card” (pdf - 377 KB).

Where can I file the application?

You can file your application for a Red-White-Red Card or an EU Blue Card personally with the competent Austrian representation (embassy or consulate) of your home country or your country of residence. Alternatively, your prospective employer may file an application with the competent residence authority in Austria (Provincial Governor, Regional Administrative Authority, or Local Administrative Authority). Please submit a written employer’s declaration (Arbeitgebererklärung) with specific details concerning your future place of employment along with your application. 

If you entered Austria under a visa-free regime, or if you hold a valid residence title or a valid Job Seeker Visa for Very Highly Qualified Workers, you may file your application personally with the competent residence authority in Austria. Please note that you always need a legally binding employment offer with an Austrian employer (work contract) in order to be able to apply for a Red-White-Red Card. Please be aware that filing an application in Austria does not allow you to overstay your visa or residence title. This means that after your visa or residence title expires, you have to leave Austria and await further proceedings abroad, even if the application process is still ongoing. 

Where do I find the application forms?

Application for Red-White-Red Card (pdf - 98 KB) and employer's declaration (German) (pdf - 615 KB)
EU Blue Card (pdf - 81 KB) and employer's declaration (German) (pdf - 615 KB)
Application for Red-White-Red Card plus (pdf - 92 KB)
Application forms for Job Seeker Visa (pdf - 169 KB) - criteria data sheet for Job Seeker Visa (pdf - 133 KB)

Finding a job in Austria

How do I find a job in Austria?

You can search online whether there are companies or other employers in Austria that offer employment matching your qualification. Many companies list job vacancies on their websites. The respective categories are usually called “Stellenangebote” (job openings), “Karriere” (career), or “Vakanzen” (vacancies). 

You can find job advertisements in following newspapers and job services websites on the internet:

Oberösterreichische Nachrichten: http://www.nachrichten.at
Salzburger Nachrichten: http://www.salzburg.com
Kronen Zeitung: http://www.krone.at
Kleine Zeitung: http://www.kleinezeitung.at
Kurier: http://www.kurier.at
Die Presse: http://diepresse.com
Der Standard: http://derstandard.at/
Tiroler Tageszeitung: http://www.tirol.com/
Wiener Zeitung: http://www.wienerzeitung.at/amtsblatt/jobs
Wirtschaftsblatt: http://www.wirtschaftsblatt.at
Österreich: http://www.oe24.at
Heute: http://www.heute.at

Third-country nationals

Who is a third-country national?

All citizens of countries that are not members of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA comprises all member states of the European Union, as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Swiss citizens are not considered third-country nationals either.

Labour Market Test

What is a Labour Market Test?

Employment may be granted with or without a labour market test. In case a labour market test is required, a permit will only be granted if there is no worker who is registered with the AMS and who can be placed.

Shortage Occupations

What is a shortage occupation?

Shortage occupations are promulgated every year in a regulation (Fachkräfteverordnung) issued by the Federal Minister of Labour (Arbeitsminister) in consultation with the Federal Minister of Economics (Wirtschaftsminister). Which occupations are considered shortage occupations depends on the development of the Austrian labour market.

My profession is not listed as a shortage occupation. Can I still receive a Red-White-Red Card?

In this case, you cannot be issued a Red-White-Red Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations. You may, however, qualify for a Red-White-Red Card for Other Key Workers, for Very Highly Qualified Workers, or for Graduates from Austrian Universities. If you meet the general as well as specific requirements, you may apply for one of these Red-White-Red Cards.

Professional Recognition

I did not complete my professional training in Austria – Do I have to apply for formal recognition (nostrification) in order to receive a Red-White-Red Card or an EU Blue Card?

For most jobs, formal recognition (nostrification) is not necessary. 

You only need formal recognition (nostrification) in so-called regulated professions. These are professions for which statutory requirements exist and professional practice is only possible through formal proof of certain qualifications (e.g. all health professions, teachers at public schools). 

Please refer to the website “Professional Recognition” to find out whether your profession is regulated in Austria and which authority is in charge of recognition.

Required university degrees for Job Seeker Visa and a Red-White-Red Card

Which degrees are recognized?

Programmes with four years minimum duration (Very highly qualified workers) and with three years minimum duration (Skilled workers, Other key workers and applicants for an EU Blue Card) are recognized. Formal recognition (nostrification) of the foreign degree in Austria is not required (exceptions are regulated occupations like for example medical professions).

You can check the status of your university online on anabin.kmk.org/anabin-datenbank.html. This website gives an overview of all recognized universities. Universities which have the status H+ on this website are recognized; if the university is not categorized under H+ or if it is not listed at all, you have to file a confirmation of status with your application, issued by the locally competent authority (e.g. the competent Ministry of Education for this university).

Please find more information in the information leaflet on "Recognized degrees for the application for Jobseeker Visa and the Red-White-Red Card" (pdf - 194 KB)

Students

Can I obtain a Red-White-Red Card as a student in Austria?

No, students cannot obtain a Red-White-Red Card.

Am I allowed to work in Austria during my studies?

Yes, as a third-country student or a student with Croatian citizenship, you may be granted an employment permit for employment of up to 20 hours per week, without labour market test. Your prospective employer has to file the application for your employment permit with the AMS.

University Graduates

I finished my studies in Austria. Is it possible to stay here and look for employment?

If you are a third-country national who has pursued and successfully completed

  • a Diploma programme (Diplomstudium) at least from the second stage (“Abschnitt”) of your programme of studies onward, 
  • a Bachelor’s programme, 
  • a Master’s programme, or 
  • a PhD or a doctorate programme 

at an Austrian public university, university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) or accredited private university, you may renew your residence permit “Students” for a period of twelve months for the purpose of searching for employment, provided that you fulfil the general requirements under Austrian settlement and residence law (such as sufficient means of subsistence, locally customary accommodation, health insurance coverage etc.).

I renewed my residence permit “Students” for a period of twelve months in order to look for employment. May I take up employment that does not match my qualification during that time? 

Yes, you may be granted an employment permit for employment of up to 20 hours per week, without labour market test. Your prospective employer has to file the application for your employment permit with the AMS.

Self-Employed Key Workers

When do I qualifiy as a Self-Employed Key Worker?

As a third-country national you can apply for a Red-White-Red Card for Self-Employed Key Workers, if your self-employed occupation in Austria creates macroeconomic benefit beyond its own operational benefit. 

This may be the case if

  • your intended occupation involves a sustained transfer of investment capital to Austria amounting to a minimum of € 100.000 or
  • your intended occupation creates new jobs or secures existing jobs in Austria or 
  • your business involves the transfer of know-how respectively the introduction of new technologies or 
  • your business is of considerable significance for the entire region. 

You can find more information here.

Start-up Founders

What is defined as an innovation?

Products, services, processes or technologies are innovative especially when they are to be launched in Austria and demand is expected, a new and/or creative approach is chosen, for example by combining different products or sectors (interdisciplinarity). Social/environmental start-ups may be innovative when they introduce new services or assume social or ecological responsibility.

What is meant by “admission to a business incubator” or “funding by a start-up funding agency”?

Business incubators support innovative start-ups by providing infrastructure and contributing to the development of network structures and synergies. Important funding agencies for start-ups in Austria are the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft - FFG) and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws).

You can find more information about Start-up Founders here

ICT ("intra-corporate transfer")

When do I qualify as an ICT?

If you are a key employee (manager, specialist and trainee employee with a university degree) who enters Austria in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer from a third country, you will be issued a residence permit as an intra-corporate transfer ("ICT"), provided you meet the legal requirements. As a transferee, you must have been employed within the same company group for at least nine uninterrupted months immediately prior to the transfer in the case of managers and specialists, and for at least six uninterrupted months in the case of trainee employees.

 

I already have a valid ICT-residence title from another EU-member state. Can I be transferred to Austria?

Yes, you can be transferred to an Austrian branch of the company or company group for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days if you already have a valid ICT residence permit from another EU Member State (“short-term mobile ICT”).

Do I need formal recognition of my qualification?

You only need formal recognition (nostrification) if you want to practice a regulated profession (e.g. health and social professions as well as pedagogical professions).

Problems in the workplace

What can I do if I am treated poorly at my place of work?

Employment protection is very important in Austria. Several institutions offer help and support, depending on the problem:

Help navigation: