Working in Austria

Whether or not you are allowed to work in Austria depends on your nationality, the kind of work you would like to undertake and – for nationals of third countries – also on the kind of residence title:

Nationals of Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland are allowed to work in Austria without any further permit (e.g. work permit) being required.

Croatian nationals still need a work permit for gainful employment due to transitional arrangements until 2020. If you are carrying out a job that is not subject to the regulations of the Austrian Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals, you do not need a work permit. Activities that are not subject to the regulations of the Austrian Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals are for example: activities within the framework of exchange or research programmes of the European Union or activities in academic teaching and research.

Students from all other countries ("third countries") who are in possession of a residence permit for students ("Aufenthaltsbewilligung - Studierender") are allowed to work to a limited extent and in accordance with the regulations set down in the Austrian Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz – AuslBG), which as a rule require a work permit. Please read the following regulations carefully. If you violate them you risk a hefty fine or even losing your residence permit. If you are in any doubt please make sure to enquire at the Public Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice/AMS) or at an advice organisation before taking up a job.

There are two different types of employment that you have to distinguish between but both must not affect your studies (your studies have to be the primary purpose of staying in Austria):

Leave to remain in Austria for the purpose of job seeking after your studies in Austria

Legal situation before October 1st, 2017:

Students who successfully completed their studies at an Austrian university, university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule), accredited private university, university college of teacher education or an acknowledged private study programme or acknowledged private university course and who intended to get a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” were able to be granted, upon a well-founded application, leave to remain in Austria once for a period of 6 months to find employment provided that they were able to fulfil the requirements (e.g. adequate accommodation, sufficient funds to cover their living costs, health insurance) for the duration of these six months. They had to apply for it with the residence authority before their most recent residence permit expired.

The leave to remain in Austria for job-seeking remains valid beyond October 1st, 2017 (until expiry of the six months granted). Holders of such a confirmation of leave continue to have the right to exceptionally apply for a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” in Austria during the term of their leave to remain. The leave to remain in Austria, however, is limited to 6 months and you are not allowed to travel to other Schengen member countries.

Legal situation after October 1st, 2017:

Students who successfully completed their studies at an Austrian university, university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule), accredited private university, university college of teacher education, acknowledged private university college of teacher education or an acknowledged private study programme or acknowledged private university course and who intend to get a residence title “Red-White-Red – Card” can now apply once for a renewal of their “Residence Permit – Student” ("Aufenthaltsbewilligung - Studierender") for another twelve months for job seeking.

To be granted the renewal you have to fulfil the general requirements for a residence title (e.g. sufficient funds to cover the living costs, adequate accommodation, health insurance) and you have to provide written proof of the successful completion of your studies. Holders of a “Residence Permit – Student” for the purpose of job-seeking may get a work permit for working for up to 20 hours/week.

Residence title "Red-White-Red – Card" for graduates

Graduates who have studied and successfully completed at least the second stage of a traditional degree programme (Diplomstudium) or a bachelor’s, master's or doctoral/PhD programme at an Austrian university, university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule) or accredited private university and who have found employment may apply for a “Red-White-Red – Card” for graduates provided that the employment is befitting their level of education and they earn a gross salary of at least EUR 2.241 per month [as in 2017]. In order to apply for a “Red-White-Red – Card” they therefore have to provide proof of having an adequate job.

Jobseeker's visa for particularly highly qualified persons

Researchers and scientists who want to seek employment in science and research in Austria may apply for a residence visa D (Aufenthaltsvisum D) for six months. Apart from fulfilling the general requirements for the issuance of a visa researchers also have to provide proof of their qualifications. You have to submit your application at the Austrian representative authority. If you find employment within the validity period of your visa you may apply for a “Red-White-Red – Card". You can find further information here.