Working as a nurse/caregiver in Austria

Care professions as “shortage occupations”

There are various possibilities in Austria to work in care professions (“Pflegeberufe”). The following three care professions are so-called shortage occupations (“Mangelberufe”). In principle, this means that you can apply for a Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations

  • Registered nurse responsible for general care (“Diplomierte:r Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger:in”) 
  • Nursing assistant level 2 (“Pflegefachassistent:in”) 
  • Nursing assistant level 1 (“Pflegeassistent:in”) 

You will have to prove the following within the context of this application: 

  • Completed professional training as a registered (qualified) nurse, a nursing assistant level 2 or a nursing assistant level 1 
  • A binding offer of employment (“verbindliche Stellenzusage”) in Austria 
  • A specified minimum number of points within the context of the point system (“Punkteschema”).

Attention

If you want to work as a 24-hour caregiver (“24-Stunden- Pfleger:in”),
you are not allowed to apply for a Red-White-Red – Card!

Validation or nostrification of training completed abroad

If you have completed your training abroad e.g., in your native country as a registered nurse, nursing assistant level 2 or nursing assistant level 1 and would like to work in Austria, your training documents and certificates will have to be recognised (validated) in Austria.

Various bodies are responsible for this process: 

  • The universities of applied sciences are responsible for the nostrification (“Nostrifizierung”) of training as a registered nurse from a third country (i.e., from a country which is not part of the EU or EEA).
  • The Office of the Provincial Government (“Amt der Landesregierung”) of the respective federal province in Austria in which you intend to work is responsible for the validation process.
  • The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is the responsible body if you have concluded your training in an EU member state.
  • The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection is also the responsible body if you have concluded your training in a third country but have already had this training recognised in another EU member state.

Working during the validation/nostrification process

If you have concluded your training abroad and this corresponds to Austrian higher training for nursing care, and you would like to work in Austria before the completion of the nostrification process, you can submit a special application to the Office of the Provincial Government in the particular federal province in which you intend to work.

If this application is approved in accordance with the Health and Nursing Act, you will be allowed to work in the field of nursing for a period of up to one year (extension possible for a further year) for training purposes and under direction and supervision. 

Important

For individuals who have received a permit pursuant to Section 34 of the Health and Nursing Act, there is an exception with respect to the Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations:

If you have received a permit pursuant to Section 34 of the Health and Nursing Act but you have not completely fulfilled all requirements for nostrification, you can still apply for a Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations. You do not have to wait for the nostrification. However, in accordance with the notification supplied by the university of applied sciences, your training must be considered as eligible for nostrification.

Nevertheless, you will have to score enough points in line with the point system (for language skills, professional experience, age).

Working after completion of the validation/nostrification process

You will first obtain complete recognition of your qualifications to work in the field of nursing or in the field of healthcare assistance when the validation/nostrification process relating to your training is fully completed.

Afterwards, you will have to entered into the so-called health professional register (“Gesundheitsberuferegister”). In turn, for this purpose, you will have to demonstrate German language competencies at a B1 or B2 level (depending upon which health career you intend to pursue).

Do you have any questions about a residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) with respect to your work as a nurse? Do you want to employ a nurse who has concluded his or her training abroad and wonder if this person can get a Red-White-Red – Card?

Free services for skilled workers and companies

The ABA Immigration and Residence Services offer free consulting with an official mandate by the Austrian Government.
Jasmin Ziegelbecker
ABA Immigration and Residence Services