What international students need for an internship in Austria

Jasmin Ziegelbecker
International students have many exciting possibilities to complete an internship in Austria in order to gain some initial experience on the job market.

If you as a company would like to hire an intern from a third country (i.e., a person who is not from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein), some of the important considerations, amongst others, are if this person is participating in an exchange programme, where exactly this individual is or has been studying (in Austria, in the EU or in a third country), and how long the internship lasts. One of the following steps must be taken depending on the answers to these questions:

 

You report the internship to the AMS up to three weeks before the internship begins and receive a so-called “Anzeigebestätigung”. g

You can receive a confirmation authorising employment (“Anzeigebestätigung”) for the internship when third-country nationals serving as interns

  • would like to do a voluntary service (“Volontariat”) lasting up to three months (regardless of whether they are currently studying in Austria, a third country, or in the EU), or
  • are studying in Austria and the internship can be credited towards their studies (regardless of how long the internship lasts), or
  • are studying in a third country (or completed their studies in a third country within the last two years) and would like to do an internship lasting for three to six months.

You as a company must submit the notification (“Anzeige”) to your office of the Austrian Public Employment Service (“Arbeitsmarktservice”, in short AMS) no later than three weeks before the beginning of the internship. However, you should plan more time if your intern does not have an Austrian residence permit (“Aufenthaltstitel”) and is thus required to apply for an additional visa. The embassy or consulate to which your intern must submit the visa application will likely demand to see the confirmation authorising employment in order to be able to issue the visa.

Example 1

Your future intern is a Turkish national and is currently studying Computer Science at the University of Ankara. You are the HR manager in a Salzburg-based technology startup and have offered him a four-month internship. You inform the Austrian Public Employment Service about your intention to employ this Turkish national three months before the beginning of the internship, and thus in a timely manner. The AMS issues a confirmation of notification (“Anzeigebestätigung”). With this confirmation, your intern applies to the Austrian Embassy in Ankara for a so-called Visa for Gainful Employment (“Visum für Erwerbszwecke”). He can only enter Austria with this visa in order to do the internship in your company.

 

Example 2

An Albanian student applied to you via a career programme at the Vienna University of Technology. She would like to be hired by your company to do a one-month internship in her semester break. The Vienna University of Technology issues a confirmation that this study-related practical internship will be recognised by the university as a free elective (“freies Wahlfach”). You inform the Austrian Public Employment Service no later than three weeks before the beginning of the internship about your employing this student as an intern.

You (voluntarily) apply for a confirmation from the AMS.

Is your intern doing the internship via an exchange programme (e.g., AISEC, ELSA, IASTE)? In this case, your intern can receive a confirmation from the AMS that the internship is excluded from the scope of the Austrian Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (“Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz”). However, this confirmation is voluntary.

A confirmation issued by the AMS is also not mandatory if the internship is promoted by Erasmus+.

If your intern requires a visa, the embassy or consulate to which she or he applies for the visa may demand to see this confirmation. For this reason, applying for the confirmation may make sense in any case.

Example 1

An Australian national will do an internship in your law firm in Graz via the traineeship programme STEP of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA). The Australian national is studying law at the University of Jena in Germany. The student can apply for a confirmation from the AMS that the internship is excluded from the scope of the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals. The intern must also apply to the Consulate General of Austria in Munich for a Visa for Gainful Employment. The application includes her confirmation of enrolment, an internship confirmation from the University of Jena, the confirmation letter from ELSA and the internship contract.

 

Example 2

You are the HR manager of an NGO based in Vienna. A Korean national who is currently doing his International Master of Science in Soils and Global Change at the universities of Aarhus (Denmark), Gent (Belgium), Göttingen (Germany) and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna would like to do an internship in your NGO during his period of study. The student can receive a confirmation that the internship is excluded from the scope of the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals. If he has a valid residence permit as a student in another EU member state (note: it must be a German or Belgium residence permit because Denmark is an exception), he is allowed to enter Austria without a visa and can stay in Austria within this context for up to 360 days. However, it is likely that he will still have to apply for a Visa for Gainful Employment in order to do the internship.

You apply to the AMS for an employment permit.

Does the following apply to you? You have an intern who is studying at an Austrian university or a university of applied sciences and who has a Residence Permit – Student (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung –  Student”) who has proven her/his value and you would like to continue employing this student alongside his studies. This represents work of up to 20 hours per week and is easily possible if you apply to your AMS office for a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”). It is also possible to employ the student for more than 20 hours per week. However, in this case, the AMS may carry out a so-called labour market test (“Ersatzkraftverfahren”) to determine if there are other suitable candidates available on the Austrian labour market.

Would you like to hire students studying in a third country to do an internship, and the work does not involve voluntary service, an exchange programme or one of the other above-mentioned exceptions? In this case, you must apply for a work permit. The AMS can also carry out a labour market test as described above, regardless of the number of working hours.

Example

You employed a Russian national who is doing a master’s in Software Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Vienna for a summer internship in your Lower Austrian company, which was a total success. For this reason, she should remain in your company in addition to her concluding her master’s studies and be employed for 30 hours per week. You apply to the AMS for an employment permit. In your particular case, the AMS decides not conduct a labour market test because there are no comparable candidates available on the Austrian job market.

… and don’t forget the visa!

In addition to the confirmation issued by the Austrian Public Employment Service, any third-country nationals who wishes to do an internship in Austria also needs a visa (Visa for Gainful Employment) in most cases – if the internship lasts for up to six months – or else a residence permit, in most cases the so-called Residence Permit for Special Cases of Gainful Employment (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Sonderfälle unselbstständiger Erwerbstätigkeit” if the planned stay exceeds six months.

Do you have any questions about international students and skilled workers? The ABA Immigration and Residence Services will be happy to provide you with advice and support! All services are free of charge due to our mandate by the Austrian Government.

Jasmin Ziegelbecker
ABA Immigration and Residence Services

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