Faciliated access for skilled and key personnel


As already explained in our People Thursday article in May, the amendment of the Foreigner Employment Act as well as some other laws will enter into force shortly. In addition, the "EU Blue Card Directive"1) will be implemented in Austria. The amendment basically corresponds to the ministerial draft2), which was under review until 27.5.2022. The measures are intended to simplify access to the Austrian labor market for skilled and key personnel from third countries. The most important points of the amendment, which will enter into force on 1.10.2022, are mentioned below.


Amendment of the Red-White-Red Card

On the one hand, the strict links between qualification and work experience in the points system of Annexes A to D to the Foreigner’s Employment Act have been eased. On the other hand, points for work experience are now awarded per half-year and not per year as before. Applicants will receive one point for each half year of work experience, which will continue to be equivalent to two points for a full year of work experience. In addition, the removal of the word "training-adequate" [work experience] now makes it possible to receive points for completed work experience or qualifications even if these do not correspond to the employment intended. Proof that applicants fit the requirement profile established by the company must now only be provided as part of the labor market examination and the substitute force procedure.

Skilled workers now receive a uniform 30 points for proof of vocational training in a shortage occupation, regardless of the type of vocational training they received (apprenticeship certificate, completion of a vocational school, or completion of a university degree).

In the "Age" category, professionals over 40 years of age now also receive additional points. The
award of 5 points is intended to make it easier for older applicants to achieve the minimum points required.

English skills were also upgraded in the points system. If English is the predominant language in the company where the employment is intended, English skills are treated equally to German skills in the points system.

In connection with the proof of language skills, there are also facilitations regarding the validity of language diplomas. Until now, the Labour Market Service (“AMS”) has used the one-year time limit according to Sec 21a Settlement and Residence Act (§ 21a NAG3)) when examining the proof of language diplomas. In implementation of several decisions of the Federal Administrative Court on the non-applicability of the one-year time limit in procedures for the Red-White-Red Card, the amendment to the Foreigner’s Employment Act (AuslBG)4) now clarifies that language diplomas and course certificates may not be older than five years at the time of application in order to be considered as proof of language skills in the course of the points system.

In order to reduce the entry barriers for younger key employees, the previously required minimum wage of 60% of the ASVG maximum contribution base was reduced. The statutory minimum wage for "other key employees" is now 50% of the maximum monthly contribution base (EUR 2,835 gross for 2022). For graduates, the statutory minimum wage will be reduced. However, graduates must continue to be paid at least the standard local wage for domestic graduates with comparable work and professional experience.


Amendment of the EU Blue Card5) to the Directive requirements

In implementation of the EU Blue Card Directive, which must be implemented by 18.11.2023 at the latest, the amendment provides for further measures to facilitate access to the Austrian labor market for highly qualified personnel from third countries. Among other things, the salary threshold is reduced from 1.5 times to 1 time of the average gross annual salary in Austria.

There are also facilitations in the event of a change of employment: In the event of a change of employer after twelve months of employment in the same Member State, the labor market examination is not required. The new employment can be provisionally taken up immediately. If the twelve months have not yet been reached, applicants can provisionally take up the new employment after 30 days have elapsed since applying for the new employment. For holders of an EU Blue Card or EU permanent residence permit (“Daueraufenthalt EU”) from another Member State, the amendment also provides for easier admission to employment in Austria.

In the ICT sector, the university or university of applied sciences degree is dropped as a prerequisite. Proof of three years of professional experience (if this is at the level of a university or university of applied sciences degree) is now sufficient.

In addition, the labor market examination does not apply when switching from a national residence title for highly qualified employment (Red-White-Red Card) to the EU Blue Card if the previous job is retained.

The announced facilitations in connection with self-employment and short-term mobility were also included in the amendment. In detail, it is permissible for EU Blue Card holders to pursue a self-employed activity in addition to their employed activity, as long as the self-employed activity can be considered subordinate and all other legal requirements for the pursuit of the self-employed activity (e.g. professional or trade license) are met. In order to strengthen the mobility of highly qualified EU Blue Card holders, no assignment or employment permit is required for a period of 90 days within a 180-day period if the activity is directly related to the business interests of the employer established in the other Member State and is covered by the professional obligations of the employment relationship. In this respect, highly qualified employees in international positions will find it much easier to work across borders. Recourse to the exception for business trips under the Wage and Social Dumping Act (“LSD-BG”), which only applies to relatively short periods, is no longer necessary for these cases.


Other facilitations

A new employment permit has been introduced for particularly qualified personnel from third countries (specialists) who are temporarily employed without the intention of permanent immigration to carry out temporary projects, especially in the IT sector, in addition to the permanent staff. The newly created employment permits are issued for a maximum period of 6 months.

In the future, regular seasonal workers who are already registered with the AMS will receive a Red-White-Red Card regardless of their age and qualifications. The regular seasonal worker regulation, which came into force at the beginning of the year, is to be amended to the effect that the employment of the respective previous five calendar years is relevant for registration as a regular seasonal worker.


Service measures

In order to facilitate the submission for applications of applicants with family, an option is created for the simultaneous submission of applications for the foreigner and his/her family members by the employer.

The amendment does not set any deadlines for the AMS to carry out the replacement worker procedure. However, as a measure to streamline the procedure, the government program stipulates that the substitute force procedure should be carried out within 10 days, if possible. The AMS is thus required to carry out the substitute force procedure briefly in the course of the mandatory labor market examination.

In order to improve the service for companies, the Austrian Business Agency (ABA), which was established at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Economics, is to be strengthened as a central point of contact for advising companies on the recruitment of international skilled personnel. In the course of this, multilingual and digitally supported information and advice for companies is to be provided. The ABA is also authorized to obtain information from the competent authorities on the status of the procedure and to inspect the procedural files.



Denise Berzsenyi

+43 5 70 375 - 1628



Talk to our BDO expert Katja Reichl

+43 5 70 375 - 1463



1) Directive (EU) 2021/1883 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2021 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment and repealing Council Directive 2009/50/EC, OJ L 382, 28.10.2021.

2) Ministerial Draft of 28.4. 2022, 195/ME Federal Law Gazette No. 27. GP.

3) Settlement and Residence Act, “Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz“ in German.

4) Foreigner‘s Employment Act, “Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz“ in German.

5) For more information please refer to: https://www.oesterreich.gv.at/themen/leben_in_oesterreich/aufenthalt/3/2/Seite.120309.html.





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