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Residence & Employment

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.

The Red-White-Red – Card at a glance

Family members (wife/husband, registered partner, children) can apply for a Red-White-Red – Card Plus enabling them to freely access the Austrian labour market. 

Skilled workers from third countries who are the spouses, registered partners or parents of EU citizens do not have to apply for a Red-White-Red – Card or EU Blue Card. They can apply for a so-called Residence Card. This gives them free access to the Austrian labour market. They can therefore work both as employees or can be self-employed and are not bound to a specific employer.

Skilled workers from third countries who are the spouses or registered partners of Austrians also do not have to apply for a Red-White-Red – Card to work in Austria. They can apply for a Residence Permit – Family Members. This gives them free access to the Austrian labour market. They can therefore work both as employees or can be self-employed.


Before you or your future employer submit the application, you must have decided where you want to live in Austria. This is important because there are different branches of the Immigration Authority in Austria. Which of these branches is responsible for you depends on your future place of residence in Austria. Once you have decided on a place, a change is complicated and not recommended. Please also note that you have to declare your main residence after arriving in Austria and before picking up your residence permit. This means that you already have to look for suitable accommodation during your application procedure.

  • The Red-White-Red – Card is basically intended for long-term employment. For seasonal employment, employment permits must still be applied for at the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS).
  • Holders of a Red-White-Red – Card or an EU Blue Card valid in Austria are allowed to pursue a self-employed activity in addition to their employed activity, but only to a minor extent.

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

The Red-White-Red - Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations is aimed at third-country nationals who have a job offer and training in a shortage occupation.

Every year, the Federal Republic of Austria publishes a list of shortage occupations. This term refers to those occupations for which less than 1.5 job seekers per vacancy were available within a year. The Skilled Workers Ordinance, issued annually by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Economy, brings an historic high of shortage occupations in 2024, which are divided into nationwide (110) and regional (48) shortage occupations.

Skilled workers from these occupational groups can usually immigrate to Austria somewhat more quickly. This is mainly due to the fact that it is already established in advance that there is a demand for these skilled workers on the labour market and thus no labour market check is carried out.

In order to receive this Red-White-Red – Card, you have to attain a sufficient number of points in the legally stipulated points system.

There are several categories of criteria in which you can collect points:

  • Qualifications (training or education in a shortage occupation)

    You will only receive points for your education or studies if they match the job offer in the shortage occupation. For example, if you have received a job offer as a software developer, a degree in philosophy will not be sufficiently relevant to the profession. The training you have completed must largely correspond to the Austrian level of training in terms of duration and scope.

  • Professional experience which you gained in your specialised area after your studies or training

    Not only fully completed years of professional experience will count, but also periods of 6 months. Internships and self-employed work are generally not taken into account. Proof of professional experience must include, at a minimum, the starting date, the end date, and a description of the job position.  

  • German language skills

    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-Institute, TELC, Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF). 

  • English language skills

    Language certificates must not be older than 5 years when you apply for the Red-White-Red – Card. 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). You will receive 5 additional points for demonstrable English proficiency if the company language is English.

  • French, Spanish or Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language skills 

    Language certificates must not be older than 5 years when you apply for the Red-White-Red – Card. Certificates proving skills of these languages are also only accepted from recognized institutions (alternatively: proof of completed education in one of these languages or native language skills).

  • Age

    You will obtain points for the age you are upon submission of the application.

Eligibility criteria for skilled workers



Max points: 30

Completed vocational education/training in the shortage occupation


Work experience matching one's qualification

Max points: 20

Work experience (per half-year)


Work experience in Austria (per half-year)


Language skills

Max points: 25

German language skills (A1 level)
German language skills (A2 level)
German language skills (B1 level)


English language skills (A2 level)
English language skills (B1 level)


French language skills (B1 level)


Spanish language skills (B1 level)


Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian language skills (B1 level)



Max points: 15

Up to 30 years of age


Up to 40 years of age


Up to 50 years of age


Sum total of maximum allowable points:


Additional points for corporate language English


Required minimum:


  • You have to attain 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!


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 EU 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.

Required documents

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)
  • Qualification-related documents:
    - Updated curriculum vitae (optional)
    - Proof of qualifications or education (university diploma, etc.)
    - Proof of professional experience (recommendations/references, etc.)
    - Language certificates if necessary
  • Employer documents:
    - Employer’s Declaration (“Arbeitgebererklärung”) 
    - Job description, detailed (either as a separate document or in the Employer's Declaration)
    - Information on the skilled worker’s classification according to the applicable collective bargaining agreement (details may be included in the Employer’s Declaration; alternatively: submission of the work contract)
  • Police Clearance Certificate (“Strafregisterbescheinigung”), not older than 3 months
  • Fees:  160 €

Please note the following:

  • There is no separate minimum salary for the Red-White-Red - Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations. However, your employer in Austria must at least pay you according to the applicable collective agreement.

  • 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 legalised 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 legalisation 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. 

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

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