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Posted on August 10 2019

A Layman's guide to Austrian work visas

By  Editor
Updated March 05 2024

The European nation of Austria has one of its oldest economies. The country provides a high standard of living combined with opportunities for professional growth. In fact, it was placed 12th in the World Happiness Report last year.  These factors make it an attractive option for individuals looking for job opportunities outside their country.


Austria encourages immigrants to live and work in their country. Currently, foreign residents account for one-tenth of Austria’s total population of 8.7 million people.


Fact box: Austria located in central Europe has a diverse population with people from different countries. This multicultural character makes it a popular choice for immigrants. Many of them prefer to settle in Vienna which offers numerous employment opportunities.  Owing to its location in Europe the country shares its borders with eight nations making it easy to explore the rest of the continent.


The country requires skilled immigrants to solve the skills shortage in various sectors. Its open-door policy towards migrants is an extension of its acknowledgement of their contribution towards their economy.


In 2015 more than 600 thousand foreign workers were working in Australia. This was roughly 16% of the total number of employees in the country that year. More than 50% of these workers belonged to countries from the EU.


If you are considering moving to Austria for work what are the various work visas available to you? What are you eligible for? What is the best option available to you? Read further to know your answers. 

In this article:

  1. Work visa for EU residents
  2. EU Blue card
  3. Red-white-red card
  4. Jobseeker visa


Work visa for EU/EEA residents: People belonging to the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) do not require a visa to enter the country. They do not need a work or residence permit to live and work in the country. However, they must fulfil certain requirements if they want to live and work here:

  • They are employed in an Austrian organization or are self-employed
  • They must prove that they have enough income and insurance to support themselves and their family
  • They must register at the local immigration office within three months of their entry

EU Blue card: The EU blue card allows highly qualified non-EU citizens to live and work in Austria for a period of two years. The work visa is granted provided there is a valid job offer. Another condition is that the AMS (the Austrian Labor Market Service) should ascertain that this specific work cannot be done by any Austrian or EU citizen. Eligibility conditions:

  • Must have completed a university course of at least three years
  • Qualifications must suit the job profile
  • Salary specified in the job offer must be 1.5 times higher than the average annual income of full- time employees in Austria
  • An EU Blue cardholder can apply for a Red-White-Red card plus visa after two years if he was employed for at least 21 months in the past two years in a job that matched his qualification.

Red-white-Red card: In order to attract highly skilled workers, the Austrian government provides the Red-White-Red card visa option for such applicants. It is a combination of a residence permit and a work permit. It is valid for two years and the visa is linked with a specific employer. If you change your employer within those two years, you will have to apply for a new Red-White-Red card. The following categories of people are eligible for this card:

  • Highly qualified persons
  • Skilled workers in professions where there is a shortage
  • Key workers
  • Graduates from Austrian Universities

The Red-White-Red card is given to applicants after assessing them on a points-based system. The applicants must have enough points based on criteria like age, education, professional experience, language skills, etc. Applicants are assessed by the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) which will evaluate the applicant and decide on the number of points. This will decide if the applicant is eligible for the visa. Individuals who have had the Red-White-Red card for more than two years can apply for the Red-White-Red Card plus. This is provided the applicant has met the eligibility requirements and has worked with the same employer for a minimum of 21 months in the past 24 months. The privileges of the Red-White-Red plus visa:

  • Entitles holders to settlement in the country and unrestricted employment
  • Change their employer without the need to reapply for a permit
  • Family members are eligible to apply for the same card

Jobseeker visa: This is a six-month permit that is given to highly qualified applicants to come to Austria and search for a job. This visa is again issued based on a points-based system. An applicant who scores 70 out of 100 points is considered a highly- qualified worker.


The job seeker visa allows to:

  • Search for a suitable job in Austria in six months
  • Convert the visa into a Red-White-Red visa on receiving a job offer from an Austrian employer
  • Apply for a Red-White-Red plus visa after 21 months of working for the same employer


If a person fails to find a job within the six-month validity of the visa, he must go back to his home country and can apply for a fresh job seeker visa after a waiting period of 12 months. These are some of the work visa options available if you are thinking of working in Austria. Take the help of an immigration expert to get better clarity and select the most suitable option.

 If you found this blog engaging, you may also like… How to manage the employment relationship in Austria?


Austrian work visas


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