Austria is a prosperous country with a growing economy and many opportunities for working abroad. Approximately two-thirds of Austrian GDP comes from the services sector, while industry and trade (particularly with neighboring Germany) make up the other third of GDP. Austria has also enjoyed one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates for the past several years. In order to keep its strong economy growing, Austria is looking for qualified skilled foreign workers to fill a variety of international jobs.
There are several programs available for people who want to receive a work visa/job-seeker visa to Austria so they may legally apply for international jobs that are available across the country, including the following:
- Red-White-Red (RWR) Card Program – authorizes a skilled foreign worker to live in Austria for various lengths of time according to certain conditions:
- Job-Seeker Visa: A skilled foreign worker can live in Austria for six months with a Job-Seeker Visa while they search for highly-skilled employment in Austria. Living in Austria can help to facilitate finding Austrian employment since a skilled foreign worker can visit companies and interview in person from inside Austria, travel to various Austrian cities and towns to look for a place to live, etc. Once they obtain a qualifying job in Austria, they may then apply for a 12-month Austrian work visa through the Red-White-Red Card Program;
- Red-White-Red (RWR) Card: Permits a qualified foreign national to work in Austria for 12 months with the same employer (if the skilled foreign worker changes employers in Austria, they must apply for a new Red-White-Red Card). After they live and work in Austria for a certain length of time with their RWR Card, an eligible skilled foreign worker may be able to apply for the Austrian Red-White-Red Card (RWR) Plus.
- EU Blue Card Program – Authorizes a skilled foreign worker to live and work in Austria for up to 24 months (employment is with a specific Austrian employer), with the option to apply for a Red-White-Red (RWR) Card Plus after a specific amount of time and meeting certain criteria.
- Red-White-Red (RWR) Card Plus Program – This is a work visa to Austria that allows a skilled foreign worker to live in Austria for 1-3 years and to enjoy unrestricted employment in Austria (i.e., if they change employers in Austria, they do not have to apply for a new Austrian work visa). The RWR Card Plus can be renewed and could ultimately be the gateway to later apply for Austrian citizenship once the eligibility criteria are met.
Each of these work visa/job-seeker visa programs has its own eligibility requirements and grants skilled foreign workers particular benefits. It should be noted that the citizens of certain countries (such as member countries of the EU/EEA or Switzerland) do not need a visa to stay in Austria as long as they have a valid passport and ID, however, they may need to follow other procedures, such as applying for a Registration Certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung).
NOTE: The work visa application process for Austria is a complicated and time-consuming procedure. Therefore, we do not encourage people to apply for a work visa at this time and are not currently assisting with the procedure, although individuals may choose to do so on their own.