Work Visa for Austria

What is a work visa for Austria?

Austria is considered to be one of the best places to live in Europe. This is not surprising considering how clean and safe it is, its natural beauty, music, and the cultural offer. Austria, is also one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, with a stable and prominent social economy.

Each year more people want to settle in Austria to increase their quality of life, and that of their families. Depending on nationality, some third-country nationals are required to apply for a work visa to live and work in Austria. EU and Swiss passport holders can live and work in Austria without a work permit.

The easiest and fastest way to obtain a work visa for Austria is to apply for a Red-White-Red Card. Austria favors high-skilled immigration, that is why it has created a point-based system that ranks prospective immigrants based on their merits. To apply for a work visa, applicants must meet the general entry requirements set by the Austrian Government, provide the required documentation, and pay the processing fees.

The validity of work visas varies depending on the type of visa. Usually, they are valid for periods over six months up to 12 months.

The Red-White-Red Card

The Red-White-Red Card is high-skilled immigration programme called created by Austria. It allows highly skilled non-EU workers to apply for a job and obtain a work permit.

To qualify as a highly skilled worker, applicants must score more than 70 points. Points are given depending on professional qualifications, work experience, language ability and the salary levels of the applicant.

To apply for a Red-White-Red Card applicants must meet the general criteria of being a highly skilled worker (obtaining more than 70 points in the Red-White-Red system,) be a self-employed skilled worker, or a graduate of an Austrian university.

The Red-White-Red Card can be issued with a maximum validity of 24 months, after which time can be renewed, or be substituted for a Red-White-Red Card Plus, which will allow its holder to work for any company in Austria.

The following are the eligibility categories applicants may use to apply for a Red-White-Red Card:

  • Very Highly Qualified Workers
  • Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations
  • Other Key Workers
  • Graduates of Austrian Universities and Colleges of Higher Education
  • Self-employed Key Workers
  • Start-up Founders

Red-White-Red Card holders may sponsor their family members for a residence permit and a Red-White-Red Card.

The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a European programme aimed at highly skilled non-EU workers. It is a merit-based system that facilitates the immigration process for non-EU citizens. All EU member states, except Denmark, the UK, and Ireland issue the EU Blue Card. Non-EU citizens who already have the EU Blue card but work in another member-state, can more easily obtain a work permit for Austria.

Once the applicant has secured a job offer, they may apply for the EU Blue Card. Similarly to the Red-White-Red Card, the EU Blue Card is also linked to a specific job at a specific company.

Individuals are eligible to apply for an EU Blue Card if they have:

  • Non-EU citizenship
  • Higher degree of education or are professionally experienced
  • Employment contract or binding employment offer
  • will earn a gross annual income of at least one and a half times the average gross annual income of full-time employees
To be eligible for a EU Blue Card, there can be no equally qualified Austrian or EU available for the job.

The Jobseeker Visa

The Jobseeker visa is issued to highly qualified non-EU citizens who are looking for a job in Austria, but do not have an offer. To be eligible for the Job seeker visa, applicants need to score a minimum of 70 points out of a maximum of 100 points based on the points criteria system which includes:

  • Graduation from an institution of higher education
  • Special qualifications and skills
  • Special qualifications and skills in the subjects mathematics, informatics, natural sciences or technology
  • Post-doctoral qualification or PhD
  • Research and innovation activities
  • Awards
  • Work experience
  • Language skills
  • Age
  • Studies in Austria

The Jobseeker Visa is valid for six months and allows its holder to stay in Austria and look for a job legally. The Jobseeker visa is not a work permit. Once the applicant has received a job offer, they are required to apply for a work permit, like a Red-White-Red Card, for example.

Who needs a work visa?

All EEA and Swiss citizens can work in Austria without having to apply for a visa. All third-country nationals who want to stay in Austria for more than 180 days are required to obtain a work visa. Austria considers third-country nationals those who are not EEA citizens or Swiss citizens.

Individuals that do not have a European or Swiss passport must apply for a Work Visa.

How to get a work visa for Austria?

Work visas in Austria are issued for a specific job with a specific employer. Applicants will be required to provide proof that they have:

  • Adequate means of subsistence – which means the applicant has fixed and regular personal income that allows them to cover living costs resorting to welfare, or aid from local authorities
  • Health insurance – that covers all risks, for the entirety of the duration of stay in Austria
  • Appropriate accommodation – which means that the applicant has local accommodation considered adequate for their family. Proof may be a lease contract.

All relevant documentation must be submitted the Austrian embassy in the applicant’s country of origin, unless the applicant is already in Austria under a visa (e.g., Austrian National Visa D,) in which case they can submit the application directly to local authorities.

Requirement to apply a work permit

To apply for a work visa, the applicant must have a valid job offer from an Austrian company. First-issued work visas are associated with a job and employer. If an applicant switches employer before the visa expires, they will have to submit a new application to link the new job to their visa.

To apply for a Work Visa, applicants must also provide the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Visa application form
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • Copy of birth certificate and Apostille
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of sufficient financial means
  • Proof of accommodation in Austria
  • Proof of completion of a course at a university or other educational institution with a minimum duration of three years
  • Employer’s declaration

Applicants are also required to provide evidence for any claim made in the application, i.e.; degree certificates, tax statements, references, work experience, and proof of language skills.

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