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How to Get a Austria Work Visa & Work Permit: Requirements & Procedure

Austria is renowned for its snow-capped peaks, tranquil mountain valleys, and historic cities — but it’s equally known for its thriving economic success. Companies like Red Bull and Swarovski have put Austria on the map as an economic powerhouse in central Europe. 

Here we set out the rules that apply for businesses that wish to sponsor an applicant from outside Austria for employment, as well as explaining the rules for applicants themselves. 

Key Takeaways

  • Austria is a popular destination for professionals and skilled workers due to vibrant tech, manufacturing and tourism industries, and a reputation for excelent work-life balance. 
  • There are a range of visas available for those seeking to work in Austria with the most popular being the ‘Red-White-Red Card’, which applies to skilled workers in areas of high demand. 
  • It is crucial that any business considering sponsoring an Austria Work Visa pay careful attention to the rules so as to avoid fines, penalties and possible visa delays.

What are the different types of Austria Work Visa?

There are several types of work visa available in Austria, each with its own specific requirements, as set out by the Austrian Ministry of the Interior:

  • The Red-White-Red Card is a visa is for highly skilled workers in “Shortage Occupations”, with a job offer in Austria. There is also a separate application track for “very highly qualified workers“.  It allows the holder to live and work in Austria for a maximum of 24 months, with the possibility of renewal. The applicant must have a valid job offer with a minimum salary of €EUR 2,925 per month [As of 2023], excluding bonus payments.
  • The Red-White-Red Card plus is an ‘upgrade’ of the Red-White-Red card allowing for fixed-term settlement where the criteria are met. It requires that applicants have been on the Red-White-Red card or EU Blue Card (see below) for at least 21 months. Once awarded, the worker is not limited to any one employer and can switch jobs, become self-employed or start their own business. 
  • The EU Blue Card is for highly skilled workers from outside the EU who have a job offer with a minimum salary of at least the average gross annual income for full-time employees (in 2023, this means at least € 45,595 annual salary, excluding bonuses). It is valid throughout the EU, and lasts for up to three years, subject to renewal. 
  • The Intra-corporate Transfer (ICT) visa is for certain employees of a multinational company who are being temporarily transferred to Austria for work. The employee must have been working for the company for at least 3 months, and the company must have a branch or subsidiary in Austria. It is available for senior managers, specialist workers and designated trainees. 
  • The Residence permit for self-employment is a visa is for entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals who are looking to start their own business in Austria. The applicant must have a viable business plan, and be able to demonstrate that that their work will be of “macroeconomic benefit” to Austria. It is a requirement that the intended occupation involves a sustained transfer of investment capital to Austria amounting to € 100.000 minimum, creates or sustains jobs, is of “considerable significance to the region”, or involves know-how for the establishment of new industries.
  • The Residence permit for the purpose of seeking employment is a visa is for non-EU citizens who are looking to find employment in Austria. This visa is valid for 6 months and the holder can only look for work during this period.

What is the Austria Work Visa application procedure?

The process for applying for a work visa in Austria varies depending on the specific type of work visa you are applying for and your individual circumstances. However, generally speaking, the process typically includes the following steps:

  • Extension of job offer — you must have a valid job offer from an Austrian employer. Your employer must also have obtained a positive employment decision from the Austrian immigration authorities.
  • Completion of application form — you will need to fill out an application form and submit it along with all necessary documents and attachments
  • Required documents — supporting documents for the application, including your passport, a copy of the job offer and employment contract, proof of qualifications and proof of work experience. 
  • Fees — you will need to pay a fee to cover the cost of processing your application.
  • Biometrics — fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application center are usually required.
  • Interview — you could be required to attend an interview with an Austrian immigration official.
  • Decision — you will be informed of the outcome of your application by mail or email.

Austria Work Visa — Do you meet the requirements?

Generally speaking, those without an existing right to work in Austria will need to have a high demand skillset to be eligible for a work visa in Austria. And in most cases, work visas in Austria require that both the employer and the prospective employee take certain steps (the employer acts as sponsor, and the prospective employee acts as applicant). 

For further information on businesses that support relocation, whether in Austria or other European countries, check out our guide to employee relocation companies


The processing time for a work visa in Austria can vary depending on the specific type of visa and the specifics of the  applicant. However, it generally takes around 2-3 months for a decision to be made on your application.

Note that processing time may also be affected by the workload of the immigration authorities and the Embassy or Consulate where an applicant applied. 

It's always best to consult with the Austrian immigration authorities or a lawyer for the most up-to-date information.

In Austria, you typically need sponsorship from an employer to apply for a work visa. Your employer must also have obtained a positive employment  decision from the Austrian immigration authorities: This is confirmation that the position you will be filling is a qualified position and that no suitable candidates were found among EU/EEA citizens.

Your employer will also be responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork and paying the fee for the employment permit.

Note, however, that some specific types of work visa, such as the Red-White-Red plus card do not require sponsorship. 

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