Legal information about Working in Austria

a) Nationals of EU and EEA member countries and Swiss nationals

Nationals of the EU-15 states as well as Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland need NO work permit for working in Austria. Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania need a work permit to be employed in Austria. If the work permit is granted these students are not restricted as regards the extent of their work, i.e. their permitted work is not limited to seasonal work or minimum income work (geringfügige Beschäftigung). One of the requirements for the work permit is that the vacancy cannot be filled by unemployed people registered with the employment service (labour market check).  

b) Nationals of third countries

1) Work permit

Students who are nationals of third countries and who are in possession of a residence permit are in principle permitted gainful employment during their studies in Austria. The provisions of the Act Governing Employment of Foreign Nationals have to be observed. In principle students who are nationals of third countries need a work permit for gainful employment. The successful course of studies may not be compromised by the job.

Students get a work permit for employment for up to 10 hours weekly if they are studying in Bachelor degree programs, students in Master degree programs are allowed to work with work permit up to 20 hours weekly. Full time employment is possible for the periods during which no lectures take place. The work permit has to be applied for at the employment service (Arbeitsmarktservice -AMS) by the employer at least 6 weeks before the beginning of the employment and is only valid for a specific job with the specific employer.
Please note: Work permit is also necessary for minimum income work (geringfügige Beschäftigung)!

2) Confirmation of notification

If an internship is scheduled in the curriculum of the Austrian educational institution no work permit has to be applied for. Instead, the employer has to notify the employment service (Arbeitsmarktservice -AMS) of the practical training at least two weeks before the beginning of the training. The AMS will then issue a confirmation of notification.
A traineeship (Volontariat) can also be carried out without a work permit. A traineeship is defined as an occupation that only serves the gaining of skills and knowledge for a future occupation without claim to payment and without the obligation to work. In the case of a traineeship the employer also has to notify the employment service. A traineeship is only possible if there are no unemployed people registered with the employment service who can fill the position.

3) Residence title “Rot-Weiss-Rot – Karte” for graduates

The Red-White-Red Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit for qualified third-country citizen workers. It is valid for one year and entitles its holder to settlement and to employment with a certain employer. If the employer is changed within the first year, a new Red-White-Red Card must be applied for.
It is available for the following groups of applicants:

  • Very highly qualified workers
  • Skilled workers in shortage occupations
  • Other key workers
  • Graduates of universities and colleges of higher education in Austria*

* Graduates of third-country nationals who have pursued and successfully completed

  • a Diploma program (Diplomstudium) at least from the second part onward or
  • a Master’s program

at an Austrian university or accredited private university, may reside in Austria for a further six months for the purpose of searching for employment, provided that they fulfill the requirements under the Austrian settlement and residence legislation (such as sufficient means of subsistence, locally customary accommodation, health insurance coverage etc.).
Additionally, they need to obtain confirmation from the competent residence authority: Provincial Governor (Landeshauptmann), authorized by the Regional Administrative Authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft) or Local Administrative Authority (Magistrat). Such confirmation must be applied for in due time before the residence permit expires.

If, within these six months, graduates are able to furnish proof of an employment offer from a specified employer under a work contract which corresponds to their level of qualifications, they will be issued a Red-White-Red Card without labor market test, provided that the employer pays the locally customary gross minimum salary which comparable Austrian graduates (junior employees) would receive, but in any case a minimum of € 1,903.50 a month, plus special payments (holiday and Christmas pay) and they fulfill the remaining requirements under Austrian settlement and residence legislation (such as locally customary accommodation, health insurance coverage etc.).

Please note: This rule does not apply to graduates who have only obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Austria.

The application for the “Rot-Weiss-Rot – Karte” has to be filed before the recent residence permit of the confirmation for job seeking expires.

4) Useful contacts

Please contact the following for further advice on the legal standing of foreign students and graduates: