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Very Highly Qualified Workers

As a Highly Qualified Worker from a third country, you have two options:

  • You can either enter Austria under a Job Seeker Visa to look for work here.
    • If you receive an employment offer during the validity period of the visa, you can apply for a Red-White-Red card at the competent residence authority in Austria.
  • You may apply for a Red-White-Red card with the competent Austrian representation in your home country or your country of residence, provided that you have received an employment offer.

Reaching a minimum of 70 points according to the following list of criteria is a prerequisite in both cases:

Eligibility criteria for very highly qualified persons


Special qualifications and skills

Maximum allowable points: 40

Graduation from an institution of higher education, minimum duration of programme: four years


- in the subjects mathematics, informatics, natural 
  sciences or technology (MINT subjects)


- Post-doctoral qualification (habilitation) or PhD


Gross salary of previous year earned in a senior management position with a company listed on the stock exchange or a company for which the Austrian foreign trade office in charge issued a positive report about its activities or business segment:

- €50,000 to 60,000

- €60,000 to 70,000

- More than €70,000








Research and innovation activities

(Patent applications, publications)


Awards (recognised prizes)


Work experience (adequately reflecting applicant’s qualification or senior management position)

Maximum allowable points: 20

Work experience (per year)

Six months of work experience in Austria



Language skills

Maximum allowable points: 10

German or English language skills for the elementary use of the language on a basic level – (A1 level)


German or English language skills for the intensified elementary use of the language – (A2 level)



Maximum allowable points: 20

Up to 35 years of age

Up to 40 years of age

up to 45 years of age




Studies in Austria

Maximum allowable points: 10

Second part of diploma programme (Diplomstudium) or half of the required total ECTS points


Completed diploma programme (Diplomstudium)

or Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programme


Sum total of maximum allowable points:


Required minimum:


Please Note:

For the following occupations and completed trainings, a total of 65 achieved points instead of the 70 points otherwise required is sufficient to apply for a job search visa or a Red-White-Red card (Regulation for the Admission of Very Highly Qualified Workers for the Year 2020):

1. Graduates mechanical engineering
2. Graduate in power engineers
3. Graduate engineers for data processing
4. Graduates in weak-current and telecommunications engineering
5. Graduate engineers (special professions)
6. Graduates in business administration
7. Social scientists, economists, scientific statisticians
8. Economic trustee
9. Physicians

Where to file the application for a Job Seeker Visa?

You have to apply for the Job Seeker Visa (category D visa) personally at the competent Austrian representation (embassy or consulate) in your home country or your country of residence. Application forms are available at the Austrian representative authority. You will receive a Job Seeker Visa if the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice - AMS) confirms to the Austrian representative authority that you have reached the points required for admission.

If you entered Austria under a visa-free regime, you do not need a Job Seeker Visa. If you find a job matching your qualification during your lawful visa-free stay, you may apply for the Red-White-Red Card during this period here in Austria.

What happens when I receive an employment offer?

If you receive an employment offer (work contract) during the validity period of your visa, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card with the competent residence authority in Austria (Provincial Governor/Landeshauptmann/Landeshauptfrau, authorised Regional Administrative Authority/Bezirkshauptmannschaft, Local Administrative Authority/Magistrat).

You may apply personally for the Red-White-Red Card for "Very Highly Qualified Workers" with the competent Austrian representation authority (embassy or consulate in your home country or your country of residence). Your potential employer may file the application with the competent residence authority in Austria (Provincial Governor, authorised Regional Administrative Authority or Local Administrative Authority). An employer’s declaration (Arbeitgebererklärung) with specific details concerning your future place of employment has to be submitted along with the application.

Please Note:
If you want to make use of legal representation in your legal procedure, please make sure that your Austrian representative is licensed to do so. Otherwise your representative cannot be accepted by the Austrian authorities.

Which documents to submit?

To apply for the Job Seeker Visa, you have to submit the following documents:

  • Valid travel document (e.g. passport)
  • Birth certificate or similar document
  • Photo (dimensions: 45x35mm) which is not older than six months
  • Proof of locally customary accommodation (e.g. lease contracts, preliminary agreement on tenancy rights or ownership evidence)
  • Proof of health insurance covering all risks (compulsory health insurance or equivalent insurance policy)
  • Proof of adequate means of subsistence (payslips, pay certificates, employment contracts, insurance benefit certificates, evidence of retirement or other pension or insurance benefits, investment capital or sufficient own assets)

You have to submit the following documents for examination of the individual criteria under the points system (see above):

1.      Special qualifications and skills


  • Document furnishing proof of successful completion of a four-year programme at a university or another institution of tertiary education
  • Document reflecting the status of the university or other institution of tertiary education
  • Document furnishing proof of successful completion of a programme in a MINT subject (= mathematics, informatics, natural sciences, technology)
  • Document furnishing proof of habilitation

Gross annual salary in a senior management position

  • Tax assessment notice or pay certificate
  • Confirmation by the previous employer that you worked in a senior management position
  • Proof that the company is listed on the stock exchange or positive report from the competent Austrian foreign trade office about its activities or business segment

Research and innovation activities

  • Proof of scientific publications, stating titles and sources
  • Certificate issued by a university or research institution that you worked in R&D or academic scientific teaching
  • Proof of patent application(s) through extracts from national or regional patent registers

Recognised awards and prizes

  • Document proving the conferral of the award or prize

2.    Work experience

  • Testimonials and work certificates

3.    Language skills

  • Language diploma or language course certificate at the A1 or A2 levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
    German language diplomas and certificates may in particular be obtained from the following institutions: ÖSD, Goethe-Institut, Telc GmbH, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF)
    The following diplomas and certificates in particular are recognised as evidence of proficiency in English: Cambridge Certificate, TELC, IELTS diploma, TOEIC diploma, TOEFL diploma.

4.    Studies in Austria

  • Course record book and related examination certificates
  • Document reflecting the successful completion of a programme of studies in Austria
Please note:
You have to submit originals and copies of the above-mentioned documents. If the documents are not available in German or English, translations into German or English must be provided. The Austrian representation will examine documents for completeness and send them to the AMS for assessment and awarding of points. Upon request you have to furnish legalized versions of documents.

When will a Red-White-Red Card be issued?

The primary requirement for a Red-White-Red Card is a concrete employment offer. This employment must match your qualification while offering adequate pay. If these requirements are met, the AMS issues a positive evaluation and you will receive the Red-White-Red Card provided that the general requirements under Austrian settlement and residence law are met as well (locally customary accommodation, health insurance coverage etc.).

As a holder of a Red-White-Red Card, you are entitled to fixed-term settlement and employment by the employer specified in your application. The Red-White-Red Card is generally issued for a period of 24 months.

When will a Red-White-Red Card plus be issued?

As a Very Highly Qualified Person holding a Red-White-Red Card, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus at the competent residence authority in Austria (Provincial Governor, authorised Regional Administrative Authority or Local Administrative Authority) if you were employed in accordance with the eligibility criteria for a minimum of 21 months during the preceding 24 months, to be assessed by the AMS.

If you are a holder of a Red-White-Red Card plus, you are entitled to fixed-term settlement and unlimited labour market access. You can find more information on the Red-White-Red Card plus here.

Example “Very Highly Qualified Workers”

A 30-year old Russian informatics graduate with over 6 years of work
experience and very good English language skills wants to find
employment in Austria.

She receives 72 points and therefore exceeds the minimum
number of points, which is 70 points. 30 points are granted for
informatics studies (MINT4 subject) under the special qualifications
and skills criteria. Furthermore, she is given 12 points for work
experience, 10 points for language skills (English A2) and
20 points for her age.

She can apply for a “Jobseeker Visa” which allows her
to enter Austria and gives her 6 months to find a
suitable job. She can apply for the Red-White-Red Card
if there is a job offer that matches her qualifications.

Image courtesy of WKÖ

Further information and useful links


  • Jobseeker Visa: € 150
  • Red-White-Red Card:
    • Application: € 120
    • Granting: € 20
    • Costs of personalisation (fingerprints, scan of photography and signature): € 20


Laws and provisions



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