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Integration Agreement

General information

The integration agreement serves to integrate third-country nationals who are legally settled in Austria and aims at the acquisition of advanced German language skills and knowledge of the democratic system and the fundamental principles derivable from it. A basic knowledge of German for fundamental language use is required before entry for the granting of a residence permit.

The integration agreement is comprised of two sequential modules. With the granting of certain resident permits only compliance with Module 1 becomes mandatory.

Module 2 does not compulsorily have to be completed. It is, however, a prerequisite for the granting of a long-term residence permit (“long-term resident – EU”). Moreover, Module 2 is generally required for the granting of citizenship.

 

Module 1

Module 1 is intended to provide German language skills for in-depth basic language use (i.e. language skills at A2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and to obtain knowledge of the fundamental values of the legal and social systems.

Third-country nationals are obliged to complete Module 1 when first granted one of the following residence permits:

  • "Red-White-Red Card”
  • "Red-White-Red Card plus"
  • "Settlement Permit"
  • "Settlement Permit – Gainful Employment Excepted"
  • "Settlement Permit – Special Cases of Dependent Gainful Occupation"
  • "Settlement Permit – Artists"
  • "Settlement Permit – Dependant"
  • "Family Member"

 

Please note:
The grant of a Red-White-Red Card is considered as successful completion of Module 1.

Persons not required to complete the Integration Agreement are

  • holders of a Stay Permit
  • holders of a "EU Blue Card"
  • holders of a "Settlement Permit - Researcher"
  • holders of a Residence Card or Long-term Residence Card (family members of EEA and Swiss nationals entitled to move and reside freely).

The obligation to fulfil Module 1 starts when a residence title was granted for the first time and shall be for the duration of two years.

The following groups of persons are exempt from completing Module 1 of the Integration Agreement:

  • Third-country nationals who are still underage at the time of compliance obligation. This covers underage minors (aged 14 years or less), who will still be minors two years after being granted the residence title.
  • Third-country nationals in bad health condition. (When claiming bad mental or physical health condition, a medical report by a public health officer has to be provided.)
  • Third-country nationals, who have declared in writing, that they will not stay in Austria for more than 12 months within a 24-month period. By such a declaration they also waive the right to file an application for an extension.

The following groups of persons are exempt from completing Module 1 of the Integration Agreement:

  • Third-country nationals who are still underage at the time of compliance obligation. This covers underage minors (aged 14 years or less), who will still be minors two years after being granted the residence permit.
  • Third-country nationals in bad mental or physical health condition. (a medical report by a public health officer has to be provided)
  • Third-country nationals, who have declared in writing, that they will not stay in Austria for more than 24 months within a 36-month period. By such a declaration they also waive the right to file an application for extension.

Upon application and in consideration of the personal living circumstances of applicants, 12-month grace periods for completing Module 1 of the Integration Agreement may be granted.

Module 1 is deemed to be completed if the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  • Evidence by the Austrian Integration Fund of the successful completion of the integration exam (Integration Exam Certificate at least at A2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
  • Equivalent evidence of the successful completion of the A2 integration exam (equivalent evidence is issued by institutions certified to carry out integration exams by the Austrian Integration Fund),
  • School-leaving certificate with general eligibility for admission to university pursuant to Section 64(1), University Act 2002, Federal Law Gazette I. No. 120, or corresponding to a school-leaving certificate of an intermediate secondary technical and vocational school,
  • Obtaining a residence permit “Red-White-Red Card” (holders of a residence permit “Red-White-Red Card” are deemed by law to have completed Module 1 of the Integration Agreement),
  • Holder of a “residence permit – artists“ pursuant to § 43a of the Settlement and Residence Act, pursues an artistic career in one of the art categories specified in § 2 para 1 subparas 1 to 3 of the Art Promotion Act (Kunstförderungsgesetz), or
  • Completion of Module 2.

At the time of submission in a renewal procedure Integration Exam Certificates to complete Module 1 must not be older than two years.

Integration courses offered by certified course providers serve to prepare participants for the integration exam. For certain family members the Federal Government shall refund 50 per cent of the costs of an integration course up to a maximum amount of €750 if the following requirements are met:

  • attendance of at least 75 per cent of the teaching units, and
  • successful completion of the integration exam no later than within 18 months after having acquired the obligation of compliance.

Eligible persons will receive the necessary coupon upon granting of the residence permit at the authorities.

Module 2

Module 2 is intended to provide German language skills for independent language usage at B1 language level pursuant to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and to obtain advanced knowledge of the fundamental values of the legal and social systems.

Third-country nationals applying for a residence title “Long-term Resident – EU” must have completed Module 2 of the Integration Agreement when filing such application.

There is no general obligation to complete Module 2 for holders of certain residence titles and no sanctions in case of non-completion shall be imposed. Yet, a long-term residence permit can only be obtained if Module 2 has been completed. Moreover, Module 2 is generally required for the granting of citizenship.

The following groups of persons shall be exempt from the obligation to complete Module 2 of the Integration Agreement:

  • Third-country minors who are not yet subject to compulsory education when applying. Compulsory general education starts on 1 September of the year following the applicant’s 6th birthday.
  • Third-country nationals in a permanently bad physical or mental health condition; when claiming a permanently bad health condition, a medical report issued by a public health officer has to be provided.

Module 2 (and therefore also Module 1) is deemed to be completed if the following conditions have been fulfilled:

  • Evidence by the Austrian Integration Fund of the successful completion of the integration exam (Integration Exam Certificate at B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
  • Equivalent evidence of the successful completion of the B1 integration exam (equivalent evidence is issued by institutions certified to carry out integration exams by the Austrian Integration Fund),Being a minor and attending primary school (Volksschule) according to the requirements of compulsory education;
  • Being a minor attending secondary school (e.g. Hauptschule, AHS) and having successfully completed German classes (annual grade report last issued or the mid-year grade report last issued);
  • Evidence of at least five years’ attendance of a compulsory education school and has successfully completed the subject of German or successfully completed the subject of German at the level of grade 9 or evidences positive assessment in the subject of German – Communication and Society as part of the examination to complete compulsory education,
  • Evidence of having successfully completed the subject of German after at least four years of instruction in German at a foreign secondary school,
  • Passing a final apprenticeship examination according to the Vocational Training Act or a skilled worker examination pursuant to the Vocational Training in Agriculture and Forestry Acts of the provinces, or
  • Evidence of enrolment at a post-secondary educational institution for at least two years, studied a subject with German as the language of instruction, and evidences appropriate academic performance in that subject worth at least 32 ECTS credits (16 weekly credit hours), or completed an appropriate post-secondary degree Programme.
Please Note
If requirements of Module 2 are fulfilled, the same is true for Module 1.
Regarding both modules, the authorities may decide ex officio that notwithstanding evidence  by the Austrian Integration Fund or equivalent evidence of the successful completion of the integration exam provided by the applicant, the third-country citizen has not fulfilled the integration agreement due to lack of required language skills.
 

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