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Seasonal Workers

By way of regulation, the Federal Minister of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection may set quotas for the employment of seasonal workers and harvest helpers if the demand for such workers cannot be covered by the available workforce.

Regulations of this kind are regularly issued for the sectors of tourism and agriculture/forestry.

Employment permits under seasonal quotas

Your employer applies for the quota permit (Kontingentbewilligung) for you as a seasonal worker with the competent regional Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice - AMS).

The permit will be granted

  • if the AMS labour market test (Arbeitsmarktprüfung) shows that there is no Austrian worker or no non-Austrian worker (already integrated in the Austrian labour market) registered with the AMS who can be placed for the job,
  • if a quota slot is available,
  • if your employer adheres to applicable wage and working conditions, and
  • if your employer demonstrates the locally customary accommodation is available for you for the duration of your seasonal employment.

In principle, the maximum term of a quota permit is six months. Within a period of twelve months, seasonal workers may be employed under quota permits for a maximum period of nine months.

Please note:
If your permit is nenewed or if you switch employers the requirement of a free quota slot within this time period is eliminated. Quota permits for harvest helpers may only be issued for a maximum of six weeks.

Employment permits for regular seasonal workers

If you are a seasonal worker, who was employed in tourism or agriculture/forestry under a quota permit for at least four months each year in the calendar years 2006 to and including 2010, you may register with the AMS as a Regular Seasonal Worker in the respective sector.

Please note:
Registration was possible only until the end of April 2012.

As a registered Regular Seasonal Worker you will be issued a seasonal employment permit outside of the quota and without a labour market test. This permit can be issued for a duration of up to six months.

It is possible to receive several permits per calendar year and sector. However, the total duration of all periods of employment for which a permit is granted must not exceed nine months per calendar year.

Seasonal workers and harvest helpers from Croatia

If you are a seasonal worker or a harvest helper from Croatia, you are subject to transitional regulations. While you will still need an employment permit, you will be given preferential treatment over third-country nationals.

As a seasonal worker from Croatia you may obtain a permit valid for a continuous period of nine months in agriculture/forestry if you were employed as a seasonal worker in agriculture/forestry in the preceding three years.

Entry and residence of seasonal workers

Depending on the planned duration of work, the visa categories applicable for all seasonal workers (from countries subject to visa requirements as well as those under a visa-free regime) are either category D visas or category C visas.

As a seasonal worker you must file your application personally with the competent Austrian representation abroad.

A visa will be granted if

  • general visa requirements are fulfilled and
  • a valid employment permit issued by the AMS is available.

If you are a seasonal worker who has repeatedly worked in this capacity in Austria while lawfully residing in federal territory ("bona fide"), you may apply for a category C visa (=visa for up to 90 days within 180 days) with an overall validity of up to five years (comprising several short seasons), nonwithstanding the maximal duration of stay of 90 days per 180 days. This applies to short-term seasonal work. You will still need an employment permit for each season.

Please note:
If you intend to stay in Austria for more than 90 days or if you have already an employment permit with a validity period of more than 90 days, you have to apply for a category D visa with the competent Austrian representation abroad, nonwithstanding the existence of a category C visa with an overall validity of up to five years.

In case your existing employment permit is renewed or you receive another employment permit, you may apply for visa renewal in Austria, provided that you are lawfully residing in federal territory on the basis of a visa for seasonal workers. You have to file the application with the locally competent State Police Directorate (Landespolizeidirektion – LPD).

Please note:
You are allowed to take up employment as a seasonal worker only after your visa has been issued. As a seasonal worker, you are not entitled to permanent settlement and family reunification.

Further information and useful links

Fees

Upon application a visa fee has to be paid.

  • category C visas: usually €60 (lower fees may be charged in individual cases under so-called "EU visa facilitation agreements")
  • category D visas: €100

Forms

Laws and provisions

Links

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