Information on Employing Foreigners

Companies in Austria which would like to employ people who are not EU nationals must comply with the rules regulating the employment of foreigners. The Austrian Aliens Employment Act (“Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz” – AuslBG) contains these rules in conjunction with the Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” – NAG). These laws are important for companies in Austria, especially when international skilled workers are to be hired. So-called third-country nationals require at least some type of work permit in order to be employed. They also need a residence permit if they are in Austria for longer than six months.

In principle, two public authorities are involved when it comes to the employment of third-country nationals in Austria. The Austrian Public Employment Service (“Arbeitsmarktservice” –  AMS) is responsible for all matters relating to labour and employment laws, whereas the Immigration and Residence Authority (“Aufenthaltsbehörde”) is responsible for all matters relating to the right of residence.  

Do you have any general questions on the employment of foreigners or is there a specific situation in which you need support? The ABA Immigration and Residence Services is your government-mandated point of contact and advises you and your international employees on all issues free of charge! Please feel free to contact us.  

Ways to employ foreigners

  1. Is your skilled worker an EU, EEA or Swiss national? In this case, there is no hurdle for you to hire this person because the free movement of persons applies. Your skilled worker must apply for or possess a so-called Registration Certificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) (link). However, it is not your task as an employer to check if this is the case.  

 


Note

Is your skilled worker not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen (and thus a third-country national) but is married to or in a civil partnership (“in eingetragener Partnerschaft”) with an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who will also immigrate to Austria or already lives in Austria? In this case, the free movement of persons also applies to your skilled worker. A standard residence permit is not necessary, but he or she will need a so-called Residence Card (“Aufenthaltskarte”) (link). You are permitted to employ your skilled worker before he or she receives the Residence Card.  


2. Is your skilled worker a third-country national, which means he or she is not an Austrian citizen and neither an EU, EEA or Swiss national? In this case, your skilled worker needs a residence permit in order to stay in Austria for more than six months. At the same time, most residence permits also serve as work permits for your skilled worker. The following illustration shows you at a glance what applies to your skilled worker.


 

If your skilled worker from a third country immigrates to Austria for the very first time and would like to stay in Austria in the long term, the various Red-White-Red – Cards and the Blue Card (“Blaue Karte”) (link) are interesting options

Do you want to employ a researcher? Here you can find out more about what to do (link).

If you want to employ an artist, you can find out all the necessary details here (link).

If you would like to employ a student for up to 20 hours per week, you can do this with a special work permit. In principle, it would also be possible to employ a student for more than 20 hours per week. In this case, the Austrian Public Employment Service can carry out a labour market test (“Ersatzkraftverfahren”), though. This means that AMS checks to see if there are other candidates available on the Austrian labour market for the position in question.

Do you want to find out more about whether or not your skilled worker is permitted to immigrate to Austria with his or her family? Here you can find out more about immigration with one’s family (link).

Do you plan to employ your skilled worker in Austria for a limited amount of time within the context of an intra-corporate transfer (ICT)? Here, you can learn more about the Residence Permit – ICT (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung ICT”) (link).

Must your skilled worker extend his or her residence permit? Here, you can learn more about the extension (“Verlängerung”) of residence permits (link).

Furthermore, you can get an overview of all limited and short-term residence permits which Austria offers here (link).

Also feel free to make use of our Residence Permit Check (“Aufenthaltstitel-Check”) to find out which residence permit best suits you and your skilled worker. (link).


Obligations of the employer

For you, this means the following:  

  • You are required to report the beginning and end of the employment of the international skilled worker to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS) within three days (unless this skilled worker has a Long-Term Resident EU permit) and
  • You must keep a copy of all approvals, certificates and confirmations as well as residence permits available in the company for review in case of an inspection.

An administrative penalty can be imposed if you do not fulfil the reporting requirements or obligation to have relevant documentation available.

For the extension of a residence permit, your skilled worker also needs pay slips and payroll account information which you should make readily available.


Attention

As a rule, you are only permitted to employ skilled workers from third countries if they have a valid work permit or a residence permit allowing them to work. Otherwise, you are guilty of illegal employment, which can lead to high fines, both for the skilled worker and for you as the employer.


Exceptions

Special rules also apply for skilled workers who are British nationals. The rules depend on how long the skilled worker from the United Kingdom has already been in Austria.

Have you already employed the British skilled worker before 31 December 2020 and would like to continue employing this person?

In any case, the employee continues to enjoy the right of residence (“Aufenthaltsrecht”) and can continue to work in your company like an EU citizen for the time being, the same as in the past. However, the British employee must apply for the “Article 50 EUV” residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel Artikel 50 EUV”) by the deadline of 31 December 2021. In this way, he or she will be entitled to continue to work in your company. If the application for the residence permit is submitted prior to 31 December 2021 but is still being processed by public authorities at this time, the British skilled worker continues to be entitled to live and work in Austria. 
 

Have you not yet employed the British skilled worker, but this individual entered Austria before 31 December 2020 with the intention of permanently living and working in Austria?

The British skilled worker must apply for the “Article 50 EUV” residence permit by 31 December 2021. This will permit this person to work in your company. If the application for the residence permit is submitted prior to 31 December 2021 but is still being processed by public authorities at this time, the British skilled worker continues to be entitled to live and work in Austria. 
 

Have you not yet employed the British skilled worker and this individual did not yet live and work in Austria before 31 December 2020?

In this case, the British skilled worker is considered to be a third-country national and requires a residence permit. If your skilled worker from a third country immigrates to Austria for the very first time and would like to stay in Austria in the long term, the various Red-White-Red – Cards and the Blue Card (link) are interesting options. 


Legal Foundations

  • Austrian Aliens Employment Act (“Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz” - AuslBG)
  • Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz” - NAG)