Visas and Work Permits 7 min

Work permits and visas in Austria: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
January 23, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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Companies hiring globally have the responsibility to make sure that the company stays in compliance with all local laws. To hire or relocate an employee to Austria, the employer has to make sure that they’re getting paid properly and getting statutory benefits. They also have to operate in legal compliance with the country’s immigration laws, tax practices, and employment regulations. 

These are challenging processes that require a deep understanding of local laws. Companies must understand employment requirements and make sure all their employees can legally work where they reside and in the countries to which they may relocate.

One of the easiest ways to handle the processes involved in international hiring is to partner with a trusted employer of record (EOR) who can handle the legal responsibility of hiring in Austria.

This article will explain the various types of visas that are available for individuals and families who may work in or relocate to Austria. You’ll also learn why using an EOR like Remote makes it easy to hire or relocate employees to Austria quickly and compliantly.  

The importance of immigration compliance in Austria

Australian laws around work permits and visas are strict. The government is enforcing its immigration legislation when it comes to remote work, digital nomads, and workers attempting to work on tourist visas. If an employee does not get an appropriate visa or overstays their visa, there are penalties and consequences

The employee could be fined, deported, or banned from ever entering the nation again. Employers also face consequences such as severe fines or the rejection of any visa applications in the future.

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Which workers need a right-to-work check in Austria?

The right to work in Austria is based on the worker’s country of origin and whether they have the appropriate visa, if necessary. Individuals from the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a visa to work in Austria and do not need any permits at all for the first three months. 

A certificate of registration is required of any workers from the EU if they intend to live and work in Austria longer than 90 days.

A right-to-work check allows employers to make sure documentation is in order and that an employee has the legal right to work in the country. Local legislation generally exempts Austrian citizens from the need for right-to-work checks. Citizens not from the EU or EEA require right-to-work checks. These individuals and the visas they require can be categorized in one of three ways: permanent residents, temporary residents, and work permit holders.

Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Austria?

Employees who are not citizens of EU countries need a visa to work in Austria, even for a short period. For employees in the EU, there are options to enter and work in Austria, such as the Schengen visa. Individuals from outside of the EU may qualify for an EU Blue Card, which would let them enter and work in Austria.

How is the Schengen Visa applicable?

The Schengen Visa is a type of visa that allows visitors to stay for up to 90 days for tourism or business in countries in the Schengen zone. 

Austria is in the Schengen zone. Employees who are citizens of the Schengen zone countries may enter and stay in Austria for up to 90 days. If they stay longer than 90 days, they will need to get an Austrian visa.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

The European Blue Card, also known as the EU Blue Card, is a residence and work permit for workers who are not from the EU or EEA. The EU Blue Card is supported by 25 European countries, including Austria

It allows highly qualified individuals from outside the EU to enter the EU to work. Applicants must have higher qualifications, such as a university degree, a high salary, travel documents, and an employment contract already in place.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Austria?

Non-EU or EEA citizens will need to get an Austria work permit to be able to live in Austria and work there. There are several types of visas, each with eligibility requirements.

What are the long-stay visa types in Austria?

The Type C visa allows for very short stays in Austria, up to 90 days within 180 days. The Type D visa allows an employee to enter Austria for 91 days to six months.

If the employee plans to stay and work in Austria for longer than six months, they will need a longer-term visa, including:

  • The restricted work permit, Beschäftigungsbewilligung, allows for one year of stay and work in Austria. 

  • The two-year permit, Arbeitserlaubnis, as well as the RWR card, is valid for two years.

  • The Red-White-Red card, Rot-Weiß-Rot Karte, also called an RWR card, is a work permit and residence permit for highly skilled employees that is valid for up to two years. 

  • The long-stay visa, Befreiungsschein, is valid for five years.

To be eligible for the RWR card, the applicant needs to go through a qualification check by the Austrian Ministry of Labor and Economy which looks into the employee’s prior experience, professional qualifications, language experience, and other criteria.

How do you get a work visa for Austria?

The list of documents needed to apply for a visa includes:

  • Visa application form

  • Visa fees

  • A passport

  • Identity photo

  • Cover letter, including the purpose of the visit

  • Travel insurance covering medical care and other emergencies 

  • Itinerary

  • Proof of lodging

  • Proof of employment

  • Proof of financial means, including bank statements and/or a sponsorship letter

  • Civil status documents such as a birth certificate or marriage license 

To apply for the RWR card, employees must have a job offer in the country. They can then apply for a work permit, which allows them to work in the country. The next step is to apply for a work visa, which allows them to live in the country.

After successfully obtaining a work permit, employees will need a D visa to enter the country. Application for the D visa can be made before the employee relocates to Austria. After moving to Austria, the employee has three days to register with the registration office.

Employees who intend to relocate to Austria may also apply for visas and eventually, they may apply for permanent residence. 

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Austria?

Employers can apply for a work permit for their employees at the residence authority in Austria or a representative authority in the employee’s current residence country. After approval, the employee applies for a visa to live in the country. The process of getting a visa usually takes 15 days to 60 days.

Once the employee has all the necessary work permits and visas, they can move to Austria to work. Remote can help employers make the relocation process easier. Learn more about how to use an employer of record in Austria via our helpful article below.

link to How to use an Employer of Record in Austria
12 min

How to use an Employer of Record in Austria

Learn how to use an EOR in Austria and find out how an employer of record platform like Remote can make it easy to hire globally with full compliance.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in 


Austria currently does not have a specific visa for digital nomads. Digital nomads or individuals who want to live and work in Austria can apply for any of the short-term or long-term visas.  

Independent contractors in Austria, freelancers, or startup founders may apply for an RWR card but keep in mind that the eligibility criteria are stringent and there may be stricter requirements than for employees working for companies.

How Remote makes compliance in Austria so much easier

Companies that hire remote workers in Austria need to stay compliant with immigration laws and help their team members get relevant visas. They’ll also have to open a legal entity in the country and set up processes to hire and pay employees compliantly — which can be an expensive and time-consuming process.

This is why employers find it easier to partner with an EOR like Remote who can handle visas, immigration, compliance, international payroll, and benefits, among other things. Remote can help you understand international taxation, handle the risks of permanent establishment, and help you stay compliant with local employment laws.

To learn more about how you can make employee relocation successful, check out Remote’s Relocation Guide for advice and insights. If you have a query about how you can relocate your team member to Austria, contact our Mobility team, who can give you specific guidance based on your situation.

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