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FAQs for international Students - Part 1

Working in Austria - Legal Procedure

Are you a student from an EU country or a third country (so not a citizen of an EU country, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland) and studying at a university in Austria? Do you want to get more information on working in Austria while you are studying and/or after you are graduating? Do you find it challenging to find reliable information on what it is you must do in order to stay and work in Austria? Then feel free to click yourself through the questions and see if you can find the answer here on our FAQ Blog:

  1. 01

    If you have the citizenship of an EU country or Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, or Switzerland, you are privileged by Union Law. This means, among others, that you have free access to the Austrian labour market. You do not need a residence or work permit; you can simply start working in Austria in any profession that is not a regulated profession. You do need to register and obtain a Registration Confirmation (Anmeldebescheinigung), but you do not need to wait for this document before you can start working. Find out more here.

  2. 02

    For third-country nationals, there is one specific residence permit that is called Residence Permit Student (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student”). However, if your personal situation is different from that of other students, e.g., if you are married to an EU/EEA/Swiss national living in Austria, or if you have already lived in Austria for several years and therefore have a different permit already, you do not necessarily need to apply for the Residence Permit Student. It all depends on your unique situation!

  3. 03

    If you fulfil the requirements for the Residence Permit Student, you can extend it as long as you are studying in Austria and even one year after that. Please be aware, though, that the requirements include many factors, e.g., a minimum of 16 ECTS points per year, sufficient financial means, housing, health insurance, etc.

  4. 04

    Yes, you can. It depends on your situation, though!

    If it is required by your studies to do a traineeship or internship (“Pflichtpraktikum”), your university should provide you an authorized letter for your employer to present to the AMS (Austrian Public Employment Service) along with a notification. The AMS will issue a so-called confirmation authorizing employment (“Anzeigebestätigung”) and you can do your internship/traineeship based on that.

    If you are looking for work next to studying, you can apply for any full-time or part-time job you want. However, be aware that your Residence Permit Student is bound to your successful studies and getting a minimum 16 ECTS points per year. When the job is 20 hours/week or less than that, your employer must apply for a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”) for you that the AMS will issue, usually after ca. 2-4 weeks of processing. If the job is more than 20 hours/week, your employer will also need to apply for a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”) for you, but unlike for employments up to 20 hours/week, the AMS may (but does not have to) conduct a labour market test in which it is assessed whether an equally qualified person registered as a jobseeker can be placed instead of you. Please be aware that this can take several weeks.

  5. 05

    Just as for any other employment, your employer needs to apply for and receive a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”) before you can start working. This also goes for marginal employment!

  6. 06

    For all residence permits in Austria, the same rules for permit extensions apply: You need to submit your extension application in the three months BEFORE your current permit expires. The authority responsible is the Immigration Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”) whose branch responsibility depends on your place of living in Austria. 

    Are you about to graduate or have graduated already but not found a job yet? Is your Residence Permit Student expiring in the next three months? No worries! You have the option of extending your permit for one more year for the purpose of finding a job in Austria.

    Have you graduated and found a job? Or does your current employer want to hire you full-time after graduation? In those cases, you and your employer can apply for the so called Red-White-Red – Card (RWR-Card) for Graduates. Feel free to write us an email! We can help you and your employer in the process, e.g., by letting you know which documents are necessary, what the timeline is, etc.: immigration@aba.gv.at.

  7. 07

    The Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte für StudienabsolventInnen”) targets third-country nationals who have recently completed studies at an Austrian university or Austrian university of applied sciences and have received a suitable offer of employment. No labour market test is conducted.

    You have to fulfil the following prerequisites in order to receive this Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates:

    1. You successfully completed university studies in Austria ca. in the twelve-month period before submitting the application. Only diplomas from state-owned universities or universities of applied sciences or from accredited private universities or universities of applied sciences are recognized.  

    2. You have received a job offer from a company in Austria which requires finished studies

    3. Please find more details on the RWR-Card for Graduates here.

  8. 08

     The RWR-Card for Graduates aims at making sure that university graduates use their gained education instead of working jobs that do not require such education.

  1. 09

    No, usually you do NOT need to show any bank statement in the process of applying for a RWR-Card for Graduates, any other type of RWR-Card for employed individuals, or the EU Blue Card Feel free to find out more on our website.

  2. 10

    If you fulfill all criteria for the RWR-Card for Graduates, it is theoretically possible to obtain this RWR-Card. Please note, however, that in order to be eligible for the RWR- Card for Graduates, you need to have completed not only a semester but your whole degree at an Austrian university or Austrian university of applied sciences. In most cases, you would therefore have a Residence Permit Student and then “switch” to the RWR-Card for Graduates. Cases involving visa are rather rare in this sense. Write us an email, if you or your employer have questions on the matter: immigration@aba.gv.at

  3. 11

    If you have a RWR-Card or the EU Blue Card and have not yet worked for 21 full months based on this permit, you cannot simply use your permit to switch your employer. Instead, what you need to do is a so-called “Zweckänderungsverfahren” (change of purpose process) which can be understood as a RWR-Card or EU Blue Card process “light”. You need to submit your change application to the correct branch of the Immigration Authority and your application will again be assessed by different Austrian authorities. However, as the authorities already know you, these change processes are usually faster than first-time applications. You can only start working for your new employer in Austria once you have physically collected your new permit.

    Should you be let go by your current employer, we recommend that you notify the correct branch of the Immigration Authority about your end of employment and about your efforts of obtaining a new job. If you have an EU Blue Card, you legally have min. 6 months of finding a new job. If you have a RWR-Card, the Immigration Authority usually grants ca. 3 month for finding a new job. Should the Immigration Authority request you to hand in your permit, you are obliged to do so, of course.

  4. 12

    Supposing that you now no longer have a Residence Permit Student but instead a RWR-Card, an EU Blue Card, a RWR-Card Plus or a different type of Settlement Permit, the years spent in Austria with the Residence Permit Student count as half the years towards “Daueraufenthalt EU”. If you studied for four years, e.g., and held the Residence Permit Student for those four years, those count as two years for “Daueraufenthalt EU”. You need a minimum of five years of uninterrupted residence in order to be eligible for “Daueraufenthalt EU”, plus the Integration Certificate B1 by ÖIF (Österreichischer Integration Fond). Find out more here.

  5. 13

    The EU Blue Card (“Blaue Karte EU“) targets third-country nationals with a binding job offer in a company in Austria. A certain minimum salary must be obtained, and you must have a university degree in a field relevant to the position you will have. The EU Blue Card does not imply a point system like most Red-White-Red – Cards.

    In very particular cases, a university degree is not necessary for the EU Blue Card. Please check out our website for more information on the EU Blue Card.

    If you have graduated from an Austrian university recently, the RWR-Card for Graduates is likely to be the more attractive option in comparison to the EU Blue Card – firstly, because of the minimum salary and secondly, because the EU Blue Card allows the AMS (Austrian Public Employment Service) to conduct a labour market test.

  6. 14

    The RWR-Card Plus targets several groups of people who reside in Austria. Most importantly, it grants free access to the Austrian labour market (unlike the RWR-Card, the EU Blue Card, or the Residence Permit Student). Please find all details about the RWR-Card Plus here.

  7. 15

    Among other things, the Red-White-Red – Card Plus offers unrestricted access to the Austrian labour market. This means that you can work both as a salaried employee or be self-employed, and that you are not bound to a specific employer. The Red-White-Red – Card Plus is relevant for various target groups and is valid for a period of up to 3 years. No German certificate is required and for family members, the RWR- Card Plus is bound to the period of the RWR-Card of the Graduate or skilled worker initially entering Austria.

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