Red-White-Red Card, Access to the Austrian Labor Market for Third-Country Nationals: Recent Amendments facilitate the award procedure for Employees and Employers

The Red-White-Red Card: residence title and employment permit

The Red-White-Red Card is an attractive residence title for qualified workers who can present a binding job offer from an Austrian company. The settlement authority and the labor market service check the qualifications on the basis of a catalog of criteria. For example, an applicant receives points for completed vocational training, a university degree, relevant work experience, and knowledge of German and English. The job offer and the future employer must also meet certain criteria (minimum salary, qualified and training-adequate position in the company, etc.).

Requirement: professional qualifications of the employee

The qualifications of the employee are evaluated according to a point scheme. If a worker achieves a sufficient number of points according to this points scheme, he or she can obtain a red-white card (residence title and employment permit). The prerequisite is a corresponding job offer from an Austrian employer.

The applicable points scheme for the award of a Red-White-Red Card is explained in detail at Although the criteria for the award of points are clearly and comprehensively regulated in the Foreign Employment Act (AuslBG), questions of interpretation repeatedly arise in administrative practice. For example, it is not always clear which professional education or training is qualified as “relevant to the field of employment” by the Austrian Labour Market Service (AMS). Good preparation makes it easier for the immigration offices and the Austrian Labour Market Service (AMS) to reach a decision quickly in favor of the applicant (skilled worker or company/future employer).

In the recent past, the Austrian legislator has repeatedly made adjustments to make the Red-White-Red Card more attractive for both employees and employers. For example, with the amendment to the Austrian Foreign Employment Act, Federal Gazette I 106/2022, the Austrian legislator created new, simplified framework conditions for the Red-White-Red Card, in particular a more favorable points system for skilled workers in shortage occupations.

Already two amendments of the rules concerning the Red-White-Red Card in 2023

 The amendment to the Austrian Foreign Labour Act (AuslBG), Federal Law Gazette I 43/2022, which has been in force since 21 April 2023, regulates access to the labor market for Ukrainian refugees who have a temporary right of residence in Austria on the basis of the Decree on displaced persons (Federal Law Gazette II 92/2022). It also provides for easier access to the Red-White-Red Card. Above all, more points are awarded in individual selection criteria (e.g. language, professional experience) than before. With the amendment, the legislator wants to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. The legislator has relaxed the criteria for issuing the Red-White-Red Card in order to facilitate access to the Austrian labor market for skilled workers from abroad. The parliamentary materials provide information on the legislator’s objectives and motives. The motive report is available online on the website of the Austrian Parliament (Link) and can be used as an argumentation aid, for example, in questions of interpretation.

Easier requirements since April 2023: new points scheme, consideration of English, French, Spanish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian skills

Since the last amendment, points are awarded not only for German and English language skills, but also for language skills in the French, Spanish and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian languages. This facilitates labor market access for persons who have acquired language certificates or completed training in these languages.

Procedural simplifications since July 2023

Until the last amendment to the Act on the Employment of Foreign Nationals (AuslBG), BGBl I 84/2023, a positive decision by the Regional Office of the Foreign Labour Market Service (AMS) was required for admission as a key worker and thus posed a procedural prerequisite for the “Red-White-Red Card”.

The Constitutional Court overturned this regulation as questionable under the rule of law (VfGH 14.12.2021, G 232/2021-14). The legislator therefore had to amend the regulation within the period granted by the Constitutional Court.

Since this amendment, which entered into force on July 20, 2023, a key worker permit can also be issued if

  • the employment of the foreigner is necessary for particularly important reasons, in particular to preserve jobs of domestic employees or as a demonstrably qualified worker in a shortage occupation, or
  • public or supra-company macroeconomic interests require the employment of the foreigner.

This gives both the immigration offices and the administrative courts the option of admitting an employee as a key worker in the event of a negative decision by the Regional Office of the Austrian Labour Market Service.

The aim of these measures is to make it easier for qualified applicants to achieve the required points and to comply with procedural law, thus facilitating access to the Austrian labor market.

The changes are welcome for qualified professionals wishing to settle in Austria, for third-country nationals wishing to work in Austria and for Austrian companies.

We have already successfully assisted numerous clients in obtaining a Red-White-Red Card under the new legal situation.

If you need support, advice and representation in a procedure to obtain a Red-White-Red Card, we look forward to hearing from you!

Art 20 TFEU – Union citizens’ right to family reunification may also apply to Austrian citizens

In a recent decision we helped a family to legally lead their common family life in Austria. Through our support, we were able to obtain a right of residence for the mother of two Austrian citizens. The granted residence permit also provided for the mother’s access to the Austrian labor market. We are aware of the importance and scope of our advice and representation for the family life of our clients and their private and professional future in Austria. We are all the more pleased about the success!

“Family members” as defined by the Austrian Settlement and Residence Act (NAG) basically only spouses and minor children

Family reunification with access to the labor market in Austria is generally only accessible to the next of kin (spouses, minor children). Relatives who do not belong to this group (e.g. parents, children of full age) are in principle not legally entitled to family reunification or can at best only obtain a residence title without access to the labor market (“Settlement Permit – [Further] Relative”).

If there are valid reasons, e.g. on the basis of the fundamental right to protection of private and family life (Art 8 ECHR) or on the basis of the rights of EU citizens (Art 20 TFEU), the Administrative Court has – however only in extreme and exceptional cases – affirmed a claim to family reunification and access to the labor market also for distant relatives (e.g. VwGH 24.3.2022, Ra 2018/22/0093).

Vienna Administrative Court grants residence permit family member for mother of an adult Austrian reunifier

In complex appeal proceedings before the Administrative Court of Vienna, we successfully enforced a client’s claim for family reunification. The Administrative Court of Vienna announced the decision immediately following the court hearing on January 18, 2023 (VGW-151/080/9065/2022-25).

The special feature of the family reunification finally granted (issuance of the residence title “family member”) is that

  • the sponsor is an adult Austrian citizen, and
  • the reunifying mother has obtained a residence title “family member” entitling her to regular employment (and not merely a “Settlement Permit – [Further] Relative”, which categorically excludes gainful employment in Austria).

The Administrative Court of Vienna considered the special close relationship and the health-related dependence of the daughter on her mother as decisive for the right to family reunification.

It applied the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) to an Austrian citizen, although there was no so-called cross-border constellation (“freedom of movement constellation”).

The case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which we cited in the appeal proceedings, convinced the Vienna Administrative Court: “If a Union citizen (in this case the reuniting daughter) would be forced to leave the territory of the European Union in the event of a refusal of a residence title, close family members with whom the Union citizen has a dependent relationship have a right of residence (and access to the labor market).” Cf. ECJ 8.5.2018, K.A. et al, C-82/16; in Austrian court decsion VwGH 25.7.2019, Ra 2019/22/0017; on the assessment of the dependency relationship in detail also VwGH 17.6.2019, Ra 2018/22/0195).

No official appeal by the settlement authority (MA35) or the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)

In the first-instance proceedings before the settlement authority (MA35), the authority still resisted and did not share our legal position.

After the decision of the Administrative Court of Vienna, the official parties (immigration office, in Vienna: MA 35; BMI) did not file an official appeal against the decision of the Administrative Court of Vienna. The official parties have thus conclusively accepted the legal opinion of the Vienna Administrative Court. This is a precedent-setting case, which will also point the way for future decisions of the Administrative Court of Vienna.

Living/working in Austria with residence title family members possible

In the meantime, the immigration office (MA35) has granted the applicant, i.e. the mother of the Austrian citizen, the residence permit „Family Relative“ applied for. The family can now live together in Austria. With the residence permit „Family Relative“, the mother has obtained a right of residence that entitles her to settle and work in Austria without the requirement for a work permit.

We are pleased that we have helped a family to live together in Austria in this way. This decision strengthens the right to family reunification and unity, fundamental rights and the rights of EU citizens derived from the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. It is to be welcomed in view of the general reluctance of the immigration offices to apply the case law of the ECJ on family reunification.

You are welcome to contact us if you are seeking family reunification with relatives and dependents from third countries and would like to obtain a suitable residence title in Austria for relatives from countries outside the European Union!

Facilitation of access to the Red-White-Red Card

Residence permit “Red-White-Red Card”: residence and work permit with one card

The Red-White-Red card is an attractive residence permit for qualified professionals who have a job offer from an Austrian company. The immigration office and the Austrian Labour Market Agency (AMS) assess an applicant’s professional qualifications according to a set of defined criteria. An applicant gets “credits” for an accomplished professional education, training and professional experience as well as English and German language skills. The job-offer by the Austrian company and the future employer have to fulfil certain criteria as well (minimum salary, qualified and adequate position in the company etc.).
The criteria are explained under Although the critera are clearly stated in the relevant regulations, administrative practice shows that the interpretation may differ. Good preparation of an application facilitate a positive decision by the immigration office and Austrian Labour Market Agency (AMS).

Facilitations since 1 Oct 2022

An amendment to the Austrian Residence and Settlement Act (“Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz”, short: “NAG”) and the Foreign Labour Act (“Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz”, short “AuslBG”), BGBl I 106/2022, has entered into force on 1 October 2022. The amendment is intended to counteract the shortage of skilled workers by relaxing the conditions for issuing the Red-White-Red Card and thus facilitating the access of skilled workers to the Austrian labor market. We present some of the most relevant amendments.

Reduction of the required minimum salary

In the case of the Red-White-Red Card for other key employees (“Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte für sonstige Schlüsselkräfte“), the age-related limit for the required salary will be abolished. After the new regulations come into force, all employees must therefore only prove that they have a gross salary of 50% of the social security maximum contribution base. The higher required amount for employees over 30 years of age will thus be eliminated. For the year 2022, the required salary will therefore be € 2,835 gross per month for all applicants. 

More “credits” for English language skills

In the case of the Red-White-Red Card for skilled workers in shortage occupations (“Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte für Fachkräfte in Mangelberufen”) and for other key employees (“Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte für sonstige Schlüsselkräfte“), additional points will be provided for English language skills if the predominant language at the work place is English. In these cases, therefore, English and German skills are assessed with the same number of points. 

Standardized proof of professional qualification

With regard to qualifications, in the future there will no longer be a distinction between a university degree and completed professional training for skilled workers. All employees will receive a uniform 30 points for completed professional training in the shortage occupation.

Minimum investment for start-up founders

When founding a start-up, only a share capital of € 30,000 instead of € 50,000 has to be proven in order to obtain a residence permit.

Professional experience

For all red-white-red cards, the evaluation of professional experience will be calculated in half years instead of whole years in the future.

The aim of these measures is to make it easier for qualified applicants to achieve the required points and thus to gain access to the Austrian labor market.
The changes are welcome for qualified professionals who want to settle in Austria and for Austrian companies.

We have assisted numerous applicants with applications for Red-White-Red cards unter the new and facilitated regulations.

If you need support, advice and representation in a procedure to obtain a Red-White-Red Card, we look forward to hearing from you!

Residence Permit „Art 50 EUV“

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (known as “BREXIT”) and thus also from the EU’s internal market and customs union brings with it numerous innovations. As a result, the right of residence for British nationals and their family members has been largely changed. As of 1st January 2021, the United Kingdom is considered a third country from the perspective of the EU. The Austrian legislator has therefore created a separate residence permit (“Residence Permit Art 50 TEU”) for British citizens and their family members residing in Austria (see amendment to the Austrian Residence and Settlement Act, Federal Gazette I 56/2018.

The status of British citizens and their (close) family members is ruled by the so called „Brexit-Implementation-Regulation“ published by the Austrian Minister of Interior, Federal Gazette II 604/2020.

British citizens and their (close) family members from third countries may now apply for a „residence permit according to Art 50 Treaty of the European Union“.

This residence permit is intended to ensure that British citizens and their close relatives have the opportunity to live, work and study in Austria.

The requirements for obtaining this residence permit – as has already been the case for EU citizens – are the following:

  • gainful employment or sufficient financial means to finance a stay in Austria for oneself and one’s family members without depending on social welfare benefits or public allowances, as well as
  • comprehensive health insurance covering all possible risks in Austria.

German language skills are not a required for the application for the residence title “Article 50 EUV”.

Since January 2021, the application is possible until the end of December 2021. Thus, there is a sufficient time window for the application. The residence permit “Article 50 EUV” is issued in credit card format and is generally valid for 5 years. Of course, the acquisition of a permanent right of residence is still possible. Persons who have already acquired a permanent right of residence in Austria are granted the residence title “Article 50 EUV” for 10 years.

An initial application has to be made in person at the competent authority. An application with a valid residence permit in Austria presently (due to COVID19) has to be submitted via mail. In Vienna, the application has to be submitted to the Municipal Department 35 (MA35). The personal application is to ensure that the identity of the respective person is guaranteed.

Due to the current COVID19 restrictions, appointments with the immigration office must be reserved online.

As experts in immigration law, we have assisted many clients in obtaining residence permits according to Art 50 TEU.
Feel free to contact us if you would like us to assist you with your “Article 50” residence permit application.

Einreise Brexit

Traveling to Austria and the Schengen area: no-deal Brexit

Travellers from the United Kingdom planning to visit Austria and other EU countries need to consider some key points in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

With the likely cessation of the “free movement of persons,” a fundamental right for EU citizens, British citizens will face changes in travel regulations.

Upon entry into the Schengen area, including Austria, British citizens will need to:

  • Ensure their passport is current and valid (validity of at least 6 months and no older than 10 years).
  • Obtain traveller’s health insurance for healthcare coverage.

British citizens will be treated akin to citizens of non-EU countries upon entering Austria, undergoing border screening. Border control may require presentation of travel tickets and proof of sufficient funds. Declaration of cash exceeding £10,000 and goods is necessary. Access to EU, EEA, and Swiss lines at airports will cease for British citizens.

The United Kingdom/Great Britain will be categorized among the most favoured nations, allowing visa-free entry to the Schengen area for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, this privilege is limited to tourism; special visas will be required for business, education, or other purposes.

It’s important to note that overstaying without a visa or residence permit could lead to administrative penalties, expulsion, and a ban from entering the Schengen area. Therefore, British nationals planning extended stays should ensure they obtain the necessary visa/residence permit in advance.

For any questions regarding visa regulations, entry requirements, and residence permits for British citizens post-Brexit, our team is available to provide detailed assistance. Feel free to contact us for comprehensive information regarding your stay in Austria.

[source image: ©Pixabay]