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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.

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. 

Professionals from third countries who are the spouses or registered partners or parents of EU citizens do not have to apply for a Red-White-Red Card or 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 and self-employed and are not tied to an employer.

Professionals from third countries who are the spouses or registered partners of Austrians do not have to apply for a Red-White-Red Card to work in Austria either. They can apply for a so-called residence title for family members. This gives them free access to the Austrian labour market. They can therefore work both as employees and self-employed.

Please note:

  • The Red-White-Red Card is basically intended for long-term employment. For seasonal employment, employment permits can/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.

Attention

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 residence 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 title. This means that you already have to look for suitable accommodation during your application procedure.

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

The Red-White-Red – Card for Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations targets third-country nationals who have a binding job offer and relevant training in a specified shortage occupation. Austria publishes a list of shortage occupations each year.

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. 01
  2. 02
  3. 03
  1. 04
  2. 05

Please note the following:

  • 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!
  • You will only obtain points for your education if it matches your job offer in the respective shortage occupation. For example, if you received a job offer as a software developer, studies in the field of philosophy will not be sufficiently relevant in this specific area. Duration and scope of the completed education must correspond to the standards of the Austrian level of education necessary for the specific job.
  • 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.  
  • 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).
  • You will obtain points for the age you are upon submission of the application (if applicable).
  • 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. 

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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