In Austria, a distinction has to be drawn between people - EU, EEA, Swiss nationals or third-country nationals - who relocate to Austria to be hired locally (settlement permits), who come to Austria while remaining on a foreign payroll (residence permits, secondments) or who are assigned to Austria based on a staffing agreement.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals
Nationals of the following countries do not need a work and residence permit in the case of local hire: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
However, if these nationals are assigned (based on either a secondment or a staffing agreement) to Austria, in most circumstances a ZKO declaration has to be filed prior to the commencement of the assignment. Although no residence permit is required, certain registration requirements apply.
Nationals of Croatia need a work permit in the case of local hire. Nationals of Croatia and third-country nationals who are employed with an employer with its seat in the EEA, EU or Switzerland, must file a ZKO declaration if they are assigned to Austria. Subsequently, the local labour authorities will issue a work permit within two weeks. The assignment may start prior to the issuance of the work permit, as long as the ZKO declaration has been filed on time and the EU social security certificate (A1 form) has already been issued. A residence permit is not needed; however, registration requirements apply within certain deadlines.
For third-country nationals who are to be locally hired in Austria, the following residence permits apply.
Settlement permit - ‘Red-White-Red Card’
This permit serves as a combined work and residence permit and is issued for an initial period of 24 months. The permit applies to the following four categories of workers:
- very highly qualified workers;
- skilled workers in shortage occupations;
- other key workers; and
- graduates of universities and colleges of higher education in Austria.
The Red-White-Red Card is extendable and when extended, a settlement permit Red-White-Red Card Plus will be issued. Applicants for a Red-White-Red Card are allowed to bring their family members to Austria, if dependants meet certain German language skill requirements or if they have undertaken a high school education, which issues qualifications to enter university. The essential requirements for getting a Red-White-Red Card are qualification, work experience, age, language skills, job offer according to the pre-qualifications and meeting minimum monthly salary requirements (at least €2,610 for employees under the age of 30 and €3,132 for employees aged 30 and above; these figures apply for 2019 and are subject to an annual review; currently, there are considerations to reduce these minimum salaries to make the Austrian labour market more attractive).
Settlement permit - EU Blue Card
This permit serves as a combined work and residence permit and is issued for an initial period of up to 24 months. The EU Blue Card is also extendable and, in such case, a Red-White-Red Card Plus will be issued. Applicants for an EU Blue Card are allowed to bring their family members to Austria, who have to fulfil certain German language skill requirements only after an initial period of two years of stay in Austria. The essential requirements for getting an EU Blue Card are qualification, job offer according to the pre-qualifications and meeting minimum monthly salary requirements (€4,447; this figure applies for 2019 and is subject to an annual review).
Settlement permit - Red-White-Red Card Plus
This permit is issued to workers holding a Red-White-Red Card or EU Blue Card and for workers holding other long-term settlement permits, after a certain minimum duration of the initial work and residence permit. It is also issued to dependants of workers who qualify for a Red-White-Red Card or EU Blue Card. The Red-White-Red Card Plus grants unlimited labour market access.
Residence permits for third-country nationals also apply to the following:
- special cases of employment (eg, special executives of internationally active companies whose monthly gross salary amounts to at least €6,264 (this figure applies for 2019 and is subject to an increase in 2020));
- certain scientists and other employees who do not need a work permit pursuant to the Alien Employment Act;
- self-employed workers (eg, freelancers and start-up founders); and
Austria implemented the ICT Directive in late 2017. The Austrian ICT system created two new residence and work permits for managers, specialists and trainees who are employed with a third-country employer and are assigned to an Austrian group company.
The ICT Card
This is a combined residence and work permit and is issued by the Austrian authorities within approximately eight weeks of the filing of the application. It can only be obtained by managers, specialists or trainees who have been employed with a third-country employer for at least six months (for trainees) or nine months (for managers and specialists) and are assigned to an Austrian group company for more than 90 days and up to one year (trainees) or three years (managers and specialists). The assigned candidate is allowed to work for client projects of the Austrian group company.
The Mobile ICT Card
This is also a combined residence and work permit that is issued by the Austrian authorities. It can only be obtained by managers, specialists or trainees who have been assigned by a third-country employer to a group company in the EU under the ICT regime and, therefore, already hold an ICT Card that was issued by another EU member state. Holders of ICT Cards of another EU member state who are subsequently assigned to an Austrian group company for more than 90 days can obtain this permit. As the candidate already went through the application process in another EU member state, the process in Austria is accelerated: the assignee will receive the Mobile ICT residence and work permit within eight weeks of filing the application according to the Austrian rules. However, he or she is allowed to start to work in Austria 20 days after the complete application is filed. Like the ICT Card, the Mobile ICT Card also entitles the assignee to work for client projects of the Austrian group company.
Further, there is a separate process for holders of an ICT card of another EU member state who are assigned to Austria for a period of up to 90 days within a 180-day period: in this case, a ZKO declaration has to be filed with the Austrian authorities prior to the arrival of the candidate in Austria. The Labour Authority will then issue an EU-Secondment Declaration provided that all requirements for the assignment are fulfilled. In this case, no additional Austrian work visa is required.
For third-country nationals who are assigned or leased to Austria (secondment) and do not fall under the ICT regime, the residence permit - assignee applies: this permit is available for third-country nationals who intend to stay temporarily for more than six months on an assignment in Austria. These candidates will not be allowed to bring their family members to Austria under the family reunion category for a period exceeding six months. A family reunion permit is not available for family members of employees on assignment if they do not fall under the ICT categories or are students, pupils, social workers or self-employed persons.
For third-country nationals who are assigned to Austria based on a staffing agreement (leased employees), a special staffing permit has to be obtained from the local trade authority in addition to the residence and work permits. This scenario may also apply to intra-company transfers under certain circumstances.
Special rules apply to Turkish nationals under the EU Accession Treaty.
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