The Red-White-Red – Card

Austria’s Red-White-Red – Card (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte”) offers a residence permit for third-country nationals who would like to work as skilled employees in Austria and want to stay in Austria on a permanent basis. There is not only one Red-White-Red – Card but a total of seven subcategories. Each subcategory is oriented to a particular target group and is based on a so-called point system. This means that you may only obtain a certain Red-White-Red – Card if you collect sufficient points.

The seven Red-White-Red – Cards

Of the seven Red-White-Red – Cards, five are for third-country nationals who have a binding job offer in a company in Austria:

  • The Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates (“StudienabsolventInnen”) targets third-country nationals who completed studies at an Austrian university or university of applied sciences in the past year and have received a suitable job offer.  
  • The Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers (“Sonstige Schlüsselkräfte”) targets all skilled employees who are not encompassed in the other categories but who have still received an offer of employment as skilled workers. In this case, a certain minimum salary has to be complied with.
  • Note: The EU Blue Card (“Blaue Karte EU”) is a residence permit which also targets third-country nationals with a binding job offer. In this case, skilled employees must reach an average minimum salary, amongst other stipulations.  

 

The other two Red-White-Red – Cards target third-country nationals who want to establish a company in Austria:

  • The Red-White-Red – Card for Self-Employed Key Workers (“Selbstständige Schlüsselkräfte”) targets third-country nationals whose future company is required to have a positive effect on Austria’s economic development. The company must for instance must prove the transfer of investment capital to Austria of at least € 100,000.
  • The Red-White-Red – Card for Start-Up Founders (“Start-Up-GründerInnen”) is designed for third-country nationals whose future company is required to result in an innovative enhancement for the Austrian economy. For example, an investment transfer of at least € 30,000 must be demonstrated.

 

Family reunification or immigration is possible with all these residence permits. Family members (wife/husband, civil partner, children) can apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus enabling them to freely access the Austrian labour market. 

The Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations

As a rule, skilled employees in these shortage occupations can immigrate to Austria more quickly than other skilled workers. This is particularly due to the fact that no labour market test is necessary.

In order to receive this Red-White-Red – Card, you have to receive a sufficient number of points in the legally stipulated point system. There are 5 categories of criteria in which you can collect points:

  1. Qualifications (training or education in a shortage occupation)
  2. Professional experience which you gained in your specialised area after your studies or training
  3. German language skills
  4. English language skills
  5. Age

Please note the following:

  • You have to achieve a score of at least 55 points.
  • Each category has a maximum number of points which you cannot exceed. For example, if you have more than ten years of relevant professional experience, you will still not receive more than 20 points for your professional experience.
  • It is not necessary to obtain points in every category. It suffices to achieve the minimum of 55 points!
  • As a rule, you will only receive points for your education or training when this fits your job offer in the shortage occupation. For example, if you have received a job offer as a software developer, studies in the field of philosophy will not be sufficiently relevant in this specific area and therefore disregarded.
  • Not only fully completed years of professional experience are counted but also periods of 6 months. Internships and self-employed work are generally not considered to comprise practical experience. Proof of professional experience must include, at a minimum, the starting date, the end date, and a description of the job position.  
  • Language certificates must generally not be older than 5 years when you apply for the Red-White-Red – Card. German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: ÖSD, Goethe-Institut, Telc GmbH, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). English certificates are accepted from the following institutions: Cambridge, The European Language Certificates (TELC), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • In general, the age you have to specify is your age at the time your application is submitted.

There is no special minimum salary specified for the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations. However, your employer in Austria is required to pay you according to the collective agreement.


Attention

If you have relevant education or training (e.g., university studies) in a specified shortage application but do not have a binding job offer in this shortage occupation, the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations is not the best way forward. This is also the case if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation but no relevant training. Instead, you can find out whether the Blue Card, the Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers or the Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers more closely matches your situation. In particular, the Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers follows the exact same point system as the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations. For this reason, it could be an attractive alternative for you. If you concluded your studies in Austria in the past year, the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates could turn out to be a good option for you.


In any case, you will have to submit the following documents in order to receive a Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations:

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • Work-related documents:
    • Binding job offer (signed by both parties)
    • Updated curriculum vitae
    • Proof of qualifications or education (diploma, etc.)
    • Proof of professional experience (recommendations/references, etc.)
    • Language certificates if necessary
  • Employer documents:
  • Personal documents:
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”), not older than 3 months
  • Fees:  160 €

Please note the following:

  • The validity of your Red-White-Red – Card depends on the validity of your job offer/work contract as well as on your passport's validity. If both are valid for at least 2 years, your Red-White-Red – Card is also valid for a period of 2 years.
  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can check which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain.
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If personal documents were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/ beeideter Übersetzer”). 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee may actually be higher than € 160. 

The Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates

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

  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 recognised.  
  2. You have received a job offer from a company in Austria which matches your studies.  

Attention

If you have not successfully concluded your studies in Austria, the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates is not the best way forward for you. Instead, you can find out whether the EU Blue Card, the Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers, the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations for the Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers more closely matches your situation


In any case, you will have to submit the following documents in order to receive a Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates:

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than 6 months)
  • Work-related documents:
    • Binding job offer (signed by both parties)
    • Updated curriculum vitae
    • Proof of successfully concluded studies (diploma, etc.)
  • Employer documents:
  • Personal documents:
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”) if you do not live in Austria anymore, not older than 3 months
  • Fees: 160 €

Please note the following:

  • Please note the following:

  • The validity of your Red-White-Red – Card depends on the validity of your job offer/work contract as well as on your passport's validity. If both are valid for at least 2 years, your Red-White-Red – Card is also valid for a period of 2 years.
  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can check which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain.
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If personal documents were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/ beeideter Übersetzer”). 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee may actually be higher than € 160. 

Did you know that after completing your studies you can extend your “Residence Permit Student" (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student”) for an additional 12 months? This extension allows you to search for a job in Austria. If you receive a job offer, you can apply for the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates. However, you will only be granted the extended residence permit for students if you can show that you are able to financially support yourself and have health insurance. You are also allowed to work on the basis of your “Residence Permit Student", but only under certain conditions and with a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung“).


The Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers

In order to receive this Red-White-Red – Card, you have to receive a sufficient number of points in the legally stipulated point system. There are several categories of criteria in which you can collect points:

  1. Qualifications and special skills
  2. Professional experience which fits your education/training or senior management positions
  3. Language skills
  4. Age
  5. Studies (or parts of your studies) in Austria

Please note the following:

  • As a rule, you generally have to achieve at least 70 points.  
  • Each category has a maximum number of points which you cannot exceed. For example, if you have more than ten years of relevant professional experience, you will still not receive more than 20 points for your professional experience. 
  • It is not necessary to obtain points in every category. It suffices to achieve the minimum of 70 points!
  • As a rule, you will only receive points for your education or training when this fits your job offer. For example, if you have received a job offer as a software developer, studies in the field of philosophy will not be sufficiently relevant in this specific area and therefore disregarded.
  • If you worked in a seniormanagement position in a publicly traded (or positively assessed) company, this can also earn you many points. The important thing is to obtain proof of your gross annual salary from a public authority (tax office, etc.).
  • Only those awards and prizes are recognised which are granted for special professional achievements and which are internationally known or are considered to be of major importance by experts.  
  • Publications are generally recognised when they appear in and are registered in international specialist or trade publications.
  • Patents have to be registered.
  • Not only fully completed years of professional experience are counted but also periods of 6 monthy. Internships and self-employed work are generally not considered to comprise practical experience. Proof of professional experience must include, at a minimum, the starting date, the end date, and a description of the job position. 
  • Language certificates must not be older than 5 years when you apply for the Red-White-Red – Card. German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: ÖSD, Goethe-Institut, Telc GmbH, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). English certificates are accepted from the following institutions: Cambridge, The European Language Certificates (TELC), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • In general, the age you have to specify is your age at the time your application is submitted.
  • There is no special minimum salary specified for the Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers. However, your employer in Austria is required to pay you according to the collective agreement. 

Attention

If you are unable to achieve the necessary number of points, you can find out instead whether the EU Blue Card, the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations or the Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers more closely matches your situation. In particular, the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations could be an attractive alternative for you if you have received a job offer in one of the legally defined shortage occupations. If you concluded your studies in Austria in the past year, the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates could turn out to be a good option for you. 


In any case, you will have to submit the following documents in order to receive a Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers:

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • Work-related documents:
    • Binding job offer (signed by both parties)
    • Updated curriculum vitae
    • Proof of qualifications or education/training (diploma, etc.)
    • Proof of professional experience (recommendations/references, etc.)
    • Language certificates if necessary
  • Employer documents:
  • Personal documents:
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”), not older than 3 months
  • Fees:  160 €

Please note the following:

  • Please note the following:

  • The validity of your Red-White-Red – Card depends on the validity of your job offer/work contract as well as on your passport's validity. If both are valid for at least 2 years, your Red-White-Red – Card is also valid for a period of 2 years.
  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can check which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain.
  • Personal documents must be specially verified so that these documents are officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If personal documents were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/ beeideter Übersetzer”). 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee may actually be higher than € 160. 

Attention

If you achieve at least 70 points, you can submit an application to the Austrian representative authority (embassy/consulate) in your country of residence for a Visa D (Job Seeker Visa, in German “Arbeitssuche-Visum”). On the basis of this visa, you are allowed to enter Austria and directly search for a job in the country for up to six months. As soon as you have a job offer, you can apply for the Red-White-Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers. Please note that public authorities may take several months to examine your application for a Job Seeker Visa.


The Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers

In order to receive this Red-White-Red – Card, you have to receive a sufficient number of points in the legally stipulated point system. There are five categories of criteria in which you can collect points:

  1. Qualifications (training or education)
  2. Professional experience which you gained in your specialised area after your studies or training
  3. German language skills
  4. English language skills
  5. Age

Please note the following:

  • You have to achieve a score of at least 55 points.
  • Each category has a maximum number of points which you cannot exceed. For example, if you have more than ten years of relevant professional experience, you will still not receive more than 20 points for your professional experience.
  • It is not necessary to obtain points in every category. It suffices to achieve the minimum of 55 points!
  • As a rule, you will only receive points for your education or training when this fits your job offer. For example, if you have received an offer of employment as a nurse, your past training in the field of electrical engineering will not be sufficiently relevant in this specific area.
  • Not only fully completed years of professional experience are counted but also periods of 6 months. Internships and self-employed work are generally not considered to comprise practical experience. Proof of professional experience must include, at a minimum, the starting date, the end date and a description of the job position. 
  • Language certificates must not be older than 5 years when you apply for the Red-White-Red – Card. German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: ÖSD, Goethe-Institut, Telc GmbH, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). English certificates are accepted from the following institutions: Cambridge, The European Language Certificates (TELC), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • In general, the age you have to specify is your age at the time the application is submitted.

There is a specified minimum gross monthly salary for the Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers which, in 2022, is € 2,835


Attention

If you have a binding job offer and education in a so-called shortage occupation, the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations could be an attractive alternative to you. Moreover, you can also find out whether the Blue Card or the Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers more closely matches your situation. If you completed your studies in Austria in the past year, the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates could be a good option for you.


In any case, you will have to submit the following documents in order to receive a Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers:

  • Application form
  • Passport
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than six months)
  • Work-related documents:
    • Binding job offer (signed by both parties)
    • Updated curriculum vitae
    • Proof of qualifications or education (diploma, etc.)
    • Proof of professional experience (recommendations/references, etc.)
    • Language certificates if necessary
  • Employer documents:
  • Personal documents:
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”), not older than three months
  • Fees:  160 €

Please note the following:

  • The validity of your Red-White-Red – Card depends on your job offer/employment contracts validity as well as on your passport's. If both are valid for at least 2 years, your Red-White-Red – Card will also be valid for a period of 2 years.
  • You will have to present one or more police clearance certificates depending upon the country in which you live. Here you can check which police clearance certificates you will have to obtain.
  • Personal documents must be specially verified to be officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If personal documents were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/ beeideter Übersetzer”). 
  • If you have to show additional personal documents or if you need a Visa D, the fee may actually be higher than € 160. 

The Red-White-Red – Card for Regular Seasonal Workers

Since October 1, 2022, there is a new special Red-White-Red – Card for Regular Seasonal Workers. Under certain conditions, this enables the changeover from a visa and work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”) as a seasonal worker to a long-term residence title in Austria. 

 

What are the requirements for obtaining a Red-White-Red Card for regular seasonal workers? 

Third-country nationals are admitted to employment as regular seasonal workers and can obtain a Red-White-Red – Card if 

1. they have been employed as registered regular seasonal workers in the same industry for at least 7 months in each of the previous 2bcalendar years,  

2. they provide evidence of German language skills at A2 level,  

3. the employer offers the prospect of a permanent employment relationship, and  

4. the general requirements for an employment permit are met. 

When is someone a "registered regular seasonal worker"? 

 

Registered regular seasonal workers are seasonal workers who: 

- have been employed on a temporary basis in the same industry for at least 3 months in each of the past 5 calendar years under a quota permit and have registered with the regional offices of the Public Employment Service for continued employment in that industry; or  

- were employed in the same sector of the economy for a limited period of at least 4 months in each of the calendar years 2006 to 2010 under a quota and have registered with the regional offices of the Public Employment Service for further employment in this sector of the economy by April 30, 2012. 

 

Attention: The Red-White-Red - Card is intended for long-term employment. For seasonal work, a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligungen”) can/must still be applied for at the Public Employment Service (AMS). In addition to a work permit, seasonal workers also need a visa. 

 

The following documents are required upon application of a Red-White-Red – Card for Regular Seasonal Workers:

  • Application form
  • Passport, valid for at least 2 years upon application
  • Passport photo fulfilling EU criteria (not older than 6 months)
  • Work-related documents:
    • Unlimited work contract (signed by both parties)
    • German certificate at A2 level
  • Employer documents:
  • Personal documents:
    • Police clearance certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”), not older than 3 months
  • Fees: 160 €

Please note the following:

  • The language certificate must not be older than 5 years upon application for the Red-White-Red – Card. German certificates from the following institutions are accepted: ÖSD, Goethe-Institut, Telc GmbH, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). 
  • There is no special minimum salary specified for the Red-White-Red – Card for Regular Seasonal Workers. However, the Austrian employer is required to pay a salary according to the collective agreement.
  • The validity of the Red-White-Red – Card depends on the passport's validity. If it is valid for at least 2 years, the Red-White-Red – Card will also valid for a period of 2 years.
  • One or more police clearance certificates need to be presented, depending upon the country of residence. Here you can check which police clearance certificates are required.
  • Police clearance certificates must be specially verified to be officially recognised. This depends upon the country in which the documents were issued. Here you can check which type of verification is necessary.
  • If Police clearance certificates were not issued in German or English, they must be translated by a court-certified translator (“gerichtlich beeidete Übersetzerin/ beeideter Übersetzer”). 
  • If additional personal documents are requested by the immigration authority or if a Visa D is required, the fee may actually be higher than € 160. 

The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card (“Blaue Karte EU”) targets third-country nationals with a binding job offer in a company in Austria which pays them at least an an avarage salary.

Read more...

Legal Foundations

  • Red-White-Red – Card for Very Highly Qualified Workers: Sect. 41 Austrian NAG, Sect. 12 AuslBG
  • Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations: Sect. 41 NAG; Sect. 12a AuslBG
  • Red-White-Red – Card for Other Key Workers and Graduates: Sect. 41 NAG; Sect. 12b AuslBG
  • EU Blue Card: Sect. 42 NAG; Sect. 12c AuslBG
  • Red-White-Red – Card plus: Sect. 41a NAG