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Austria — is the country where it is calm and safe to study, work, and carry on private business or simply to live. However, to have such an opportunity, a foreigner (non EU citizen) must obtain a right on residence or residence permit in Austria.

What are the benefits of obtaining residence permit in Austria?

Residence permit in Austria opens free entry to any member-state of the Schengen agreement.
In ten years after receiving residence permit; the resident has the right to apply for citizenship of Austria through naturalization.
It should be noted that the acquisition of Austrian citizenship has no tax consequences. The applicant is subject to the taxation in Austria only if he decides to reside permanently in the country and pay taxes in accordance with the Austrian Law. The mere presence of Austrian citizenship does not create an obligation for paying taxes and fees in Austria.

Who can obtain a residence permit in Austria?

There are a large number of categories of applicants for a residence permit in Austria.
However, it makes sense to consider only three categories in which the citizens of third countries, as a rule, receive a residence permit:

  • “dependent key employees” (employment)
  • ” independent key employees” (own business)
  • residence permit for financially independent applicants.

“Dependent key employees” (employment)

Currently in Austria operates the immigration scheme, so called “Red-white-red card”—RWR Karte, created for those who aim to obtain the residence permits in Austria
RWR Кarte is designed to provide great flexibility in regulating the immigration of qualified personnel and their families from countries outside of the European Union on a constant residence to Austria.
The main criteria of the immigration scheme of RWR Каrtе are: qualification, experience, age, and knowledge of language, adequate job offer, the appropriate level of remuneration.

RWR Karte exists in two versions:

  1. RWR Karte gives the right to live and work only for a certain employer.
  2. RWR Karte plus —gives right of residence and unlimited access to the labor market (without being tied to a particular employer).

RWR Karte is available for the following groups of applicants:

  1. highly qualified specialists;
  2. qualified specialist of shortage professions.
  3. other key personnel;
  4. graduates of universities and other higher education institutions in Austria.

RWR Karte is issued by the competent authority responsible for the residence, in case that all general and special requirements under the Temporary and Permanent Registration Law are fulfilled (Niederlassungs- una1 Aufenthaltsgesetsetz, NAG).

RWR Karte plus is available for the following groups of applicants:

family members of applicants from groups 1 to 4, as well as the holders of the EU Blue Card (EU Blue Card);
family members of foreign citizens permanently residing in Austria.

This card is designed for the family members of RWR Karte holders, and provides them unlimited access to the Austrian labor market. Family members applying for RWR Karte plus card before coming to Austria must submit the results of successfully completed tests of the German language at least at A1 level (general language proficiency system CEFR). In addition, the sufficient family income (means of subsistence) must be secured.
This rule does not apply to family members of highly qualified RWR Karte holders.

Family members of highly qualified specialists, qualified specialists of shortage professions and key personnel can apply for RWR Karte plus abroad at Austrian diplomatic missions (embassy, consulate) or after legal visa- entry into Austria at the authorized agency in Austria (Bezirkshauptmannschaft / BH, Magistral, Vienna, MA 35).

Applications for RWR Karte and RWR Karte plus can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs www.bmi.gv.at

RWR Karte for highly qualified specialists

Highly qualified specialists, who have no employer in Austria, can apply for a visa in order to find work in Austria at the Austrian diplomatic mission (embassy, consulate) in their home country.
In order to obtain RWR Karte it is necessary to score at least 70 points out of 100. An applicant, who receives the minimum required score according to the following list of criteria, obtains residents permit in Austria for 6 months to find the appropriate employer. Within 6 months it is necessary to find in Austria an employer ready to provide a specialist with workplace, according to his qualifications, and to sign an employment contract in order to obtain the card for 12 months. RWR Karte gives an applicant the right to be employed only by this employer. Highly qualified specialists, the RWR Karte holders, may apply for RWR Karte plus, which will give them unlimited access to the labor market after 12-month period (10 months of continuous employment in accordance with their skills in the same employer). The control is carried out by Labor Market Services (AMS).

Special qualifications and skills Maximal score: 40
Completed higher education with a duration of at least 4 years 20
•    in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology 30
•    academic degree or similar qualification (for example, PhD) 40
The applicant was holding a senior position in a company listed on the stock exchange or in company whose achievements and activities were marked by the responsible Ministry on the positive side. The annual income of the applicant for the previous year was (before taxes ):  
•    from 50 000  to 60 000 EUR 20
•    from 60 000 to 70 000 EUR 25
•    from 70 000 EUR 30
Research and innovation activities (registration of patents, publications) 20
Awards, recognized prizes 20
Professional or supervisory experience Maximal score: 20
Working experience (for each year) 2
6-months working experience in Austria 10
Language proficiency Maximal score: 10
Knowledge of German or English (А1 or А2 level) 2
Deep knowledge of English or German (В2 level or higher) 10
Age Maximal score: 20
Till 35 20
Till 40 15
Education received in Austria Maximal score: 10
The second half of higher education, or half of the required ECTS Points (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) 5
Full higher education (bachelor or master diploma) 10
Maximal score 100
Minimal required score 70

RWR Karte for qualified specialist
of shortage professions

List of shortage professions is annually determined depending on the situation on the labor market by special directive of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection after consultation with the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth.
Qualified specialists and other key personnel may apply for RWR Karte abroad at the Austrian diplomatic mission (embassy, ​​consulate). Prospective employer’s statement on compliance with employment terms must be submitted together with the application. Applicants having the right for visa-free entry, as well as the graduates of universities and other higher education institutions in Austria, can apply directly to the authorized agency (Bezirkshauptmannschafr / BH, Magistraf, in Vienna, MA 35), which then sends a request for the evaluation and confirmation of selection criteria.

Qualification Maximal score: 30
Completed specialized education on shortage profession 20
Secondary education giving the right to enter university (under Section 64 (1) of the Universities Act 2012) 25
Completed higher education with the duration of at least 3 years 30
Professional experience Maximal score: 10
Working experience (for each year) 2
6-months working experience in Austria 4
Language proficiency Maximal score: 15
Knowledge of German (А1 level) or knowledge of English (В1 level) 10
Knowledge of German (А2 level) or knowledge of English (В2 level) 15
Age Maximal score: 20
Till 30 20
Till 40 15
Maximal score 75
Minimal required score 50

RWR Karte for other key personnel

Non-EU citizens that may be employed as the key personnel due to their qualifications, may apply for RWR Karte valid for 1 to 2 months, if they:

  1. obtain minimum required score according to the following list of criteria – 50 points out of 75;
  2. receive a minimum salary from the employer, which is:
  • aged under 30: 50% of the maximum assessment base under Austrian Social Security Act (2013: 2220 EUR per month before taxes and special payments);
  • aged over 30: 60% of the maximum assessment base under Austrian Social Security Act (2013: 2664 EUR per month before taxes and special payments);

provided that, on Austrian labor market there no Austrian citizen or foreigner having already passed the integration process is registered as unemployed with the same qualifications. Control of Labor Market Services (AMS) is mandatory.

In 12 months key personnel applicant, the RWR Karte holder, may apply for RWR Karte plus, which will give them unlimited access to the labor market (10 months of continuous employment in accordance with their skills in the same employer).

Qualification Maximal score: 30
Completed specialized education on shortage profession 20
Secondary education giving the right to enter university (under Section 64 (1) of the Universities Act 2012) 25
Completed higher education with the duration of at least 3 years 30
Professional experience Maximal score: 10
Working experience (for each year) 2
6-months working experience in Austria 4
Language proficiency Maximal score: 15
Knowledge of German (А1 level) or knowledge of English (В1 level) 10
Knowledge of German (А2 level) or knowledge of English (В2 level) 15
Age Maximal score: 20

 

RWR Karte for foreign graduates

Non-EU citizens who have received master’s degree or at least successfully finished the second part of the study (Diplomstudium) at the university, college or accredited private university in Austria, have the right to stay in Austria for the next 6 months from the date of graduation in order to find work.

Basic requirements to the workplace: it must coincide with the qualification level of graduates and minimum salary must be not lower than 45% of the maximum assessment base under Austrian Social Security Law (2011: 1890 EUR per month plus special payments).

There no estimates under special official scale.

In 12 months graduates, the RWR Karte holder may apply for RWR Karte plus, which will give them unlimited access to the labor market (10 months of continuous employment in accordance with their skills in the same employer).

This rule does not apply to graduates who have received only a bachelor’s degree in Austria.

Family reunification

Family members of highly qualified specialists, key personnel and skilled workers who immigrate in accordance with the RWR Karte Scheme are admitted regardless of the quota. For family reunification of other foreign citizens permanently residing in Austria, annual quota is determined by the directive of Federal Government.
Family members of Austrians will continue to receive the appropriate residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel – Familienangehoeriger) with unlimited access to the labor market.

Family Reunification
Highly qualified specialists Skilled workers Graduates Austrian Citizens Foreigners already residing in Austria
No Quota Obligatory quota
RWR Karte, unlimited access to the labor market RWR Karte plus, unlimited access to the labor market RWR Karte plus, unlimited access to the labor market Family member residence permit, unlimited access to the labor market RWR Karte plus, unlimited access to the labor market
No obligatory language tests to be taken before entering Austria Obligatory confirmation of German knowledge before entering Austria: at least А1 level

EU Blue card

Requirements for EU Blue card applicants. All items must be fulfilled simultaneously:

  1. Completed higher education course with the duration of at least 3 years.
  2. Obligatory job offer, with an annual pretax salary of no less than 50113 EUR (150% of average annual pretax salary the full-time employee).
  3. No unemployed person with the same qualifications, registered in the Austrian Federal Employment Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS), which could be hired by a prospective employer (obligatory control of the labor market).

EU blue card is issued for 2 years.

«Independent key employees« (own business)

One of the most common ways to obtain a residence permit is using quota of “independent key personnel» (Sebstsstaendigen Schloesslkraeften) – the so-called Austrian entrepreneurs having their own business. In this case, the applicant must demonstrate that he intends to conduct a business in Austria by making significant investments, as well as creating work places or at least maintaining the employment on the current level. In other words, an investor purchasing a hotel, supermarket, business centers and other commercial property is eligible to apply for this type of residence permit. However, it is necessary to understand that each case is considered individually. There no exact criteria regarding investment capital. Usually, it refers to the investments of at least 2 million EUR (about 2.5-3 million US dollars). It doesn’t apply to the purchase of governmental bonds, real estate etc. The compliance with the requirements is controlled by employment service and local authorities.
The applicant must provide a completely “clear” personal data (certificate of no criminal record, etc.), a detailed biography, assets origin information, business operation data, as well as excellent recommendations.
Applicant’s spouse and children under 18 years of age may be included in one application. Children over 18 years of age can’t be included in the application, and there no exceptions from this rule. However, at the same time they can submit a separate application. In that case such applicants are not required to make their own investments, but the required investments of the main applicant will be above the minimum level.
Requirements on German language knowledge don’t apply to the applicants on investment citizenship planning program.

Residence permit for financially independent applicants

There is one more theoretical possibility to obtain residence permit in Austria without an employment, for this purpose it is necessary to show your financial independence, the necessary insurances, residence address in Austria, and to demonstrate your knowledge of the German language. However, the quota issued for the wealthy applicants category is small, only a few dozen for each federal state (for example, in 2014, for Vienna only 80 quotas were issued), and they usually come to an end on the very first day of accepting applications. Consideration is done on an on-going basis.

If any additional questions left, please contact our stuff for organization of further consultations.

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