Obtaining a residence permit for non-EU workers will be easier

Currently, Austria is in need of more workers, as there are approximately 124,000 vacant jobs on the market. As a result, in order to attract foreign expats and facilitate the procedure of obtaining a residence permit, the government is planning to make some changes.
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PUBLISHED 31.01.2023
Annually the federal government reviews the local unemployment service statistics to see which professions have a lack of employees. Afterwards, they compile a list of "shortage occupations", providing skilled individuals from outside the EU in those areas with the opportunity to obtain a residence permit if they are accepted for a job. At first glance, it is quite simple, however the actual process is rather bureaucratic and requires time. According to the statements of the federal government in a press conference on 26th of January, the work residence permit (the so-called Rot-Weiss-Rot card) will be made much more accessible.

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As stated by Labour Minister Martin Kocher (OVP), the previously-mentioned number of vacant jobs is presumably much higher, as only about 50% of the positions are reported to the labour market service (AMS). One of the main factors that pressure the job sector is that many individuals switched their professional area of expertise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the gastronomy and tourism sectors.

One of the upcoming changes is that a prospective IT specialist can obtain a job based on professional experience only. Currently in Austria, there is a formal education standard that must match the job position required, as opposed to countries like Germany and the Netherlands. According to the federal government's draft proposal, IT workers with 3 years of professional experience can be accepted as well.

Another noteworthy amendment is that English language skills will equally count as German if it is the company language. In case there is German knowledge required, the provided certificates will be accepted for 5 years instead of just 1.
Similar to the situation with IT workers, the professional experience for the shortage of sectors with the most occupations will play a more important role than academic background. Select apprenticeship certificates will count as much as university degrees in some areas, such as nursing and health care.

Seasonal workers, including cooks and waiters, will be able to obtain an RWR permit much easier as well. Those individuals hired for 3 years could become permanent workers if they receive a job offer in the field.

These changes will bring in much-needed skilled workers and reduce the duration of the current process by up to 1-1.5 months, as it currently takes anywhere from 2–3 months.
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Evgeny Pilnikov,
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