Navigating the Red-White-Red Card: A Guide to Austria's Immigration Changes

13-Jan-2024 | relocation Navigating the Red-White-Red Card: A Guide to Austria's Immigration Changes

Read here what the Red-White-Red Card is, how it works, and who can apply for it.

The Austrian legislature is continuously changing the Foreign Employment Act to make it easier for foreign skilled workers to obtain a residence and employment permit. Particularly concerning the Red-White-Red Card, a crucial document for third-country nationals seeking residence and employment in the country. In this article, we will explore the key modifications to the application process, eligibility criteria, and other details.

What is a Red-White-Red Card?

For individuals not coming from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, a residence permit is mandatory for stays in Austria. Before delving into the latest changes, it's important to note that different types of residence permits exist for various purposes and durations. The Red-White-Red Card is one of such permits.

General Changes

The latest amendments touch on several aspects of the Red-White-Red Card application as well as the Blue Card application process:

1. Time and Documentation Constraints: The age and gross monthly income of applicants now play a crucial role, and language diplomas and course certificates must not be older than five years.

2. Expanded Language Options: The language proficiency criteria have broadened, with applicants now receiving points for proficiency in French, Spanish, and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, in addition to German and English.

These are the latest rules for the subcategory Red-White-Red Key Workers

1. Minimum Monthly Income: The minimum monthly income is no longer age-dependent and has been set for 2024 at €3,030 gross, without allowances.

2. Work Experience: Changes to the point system allow for 1 point per half-year of work experience, and additional points for English language skills in companies where English is the predominant language. Work experience now can be taken into consideration even if the applicant’s education does not fit the job offered in Austria 100%.

3. Self-Employment: Red-White-Red Card holders in this category are entitled to limited self-employment.

4. Family Representative: Provided that the applications are submitted at the same time, the employer or a legal representative may submit the applications for the employee and their family members in Austria at the authority in charge.

Changes in Subcategories

Changes have also been made to Austria's immigration rules for different groups. Graduates do not have a minimum income requirement, and income according to the collective agreement is now sufficient. Highly qualified workers get points for each half-year in the points system for professional work experience. In shortage occupations, other noteworthy adjustments have been made, namely, the provision of additional points for vocational training, while applicants aged over 40 now receive supplementary points. These adjustments show that Austria is making its immigration criteria more flexible and accommodating.

Blue Card Revisions

The Blue Card, another significant category, has witnessed noteworthy changes:

1. Minimum Gross Income: The minimum gross income per year for Blue Card applicants has been set to €47,855 for 2024.

2. Educational Requirements: Degrees for managers, academics, or IT specialists are no longer mandatory if applicants possess three years of relevant professional experience in the IT field within the last seven years.

3. AMS Checks: Austria’s Public Employment Service will no longer conduct labor market checks when transitioning from Red-White-Red to Blue Card within the same company.

4. Self-Employment: Blue Card holders are entitled to limited self-employment.

5. Residence Periods: Periods of a Blue Card or a residence permit for researchers in another EU member state can be fully credited towards the 5-year period for permanent residence in Austria.

6. Family Members: The application process for family members of Blue Card holders should be completed within 8 weeks if the application file is complete.

Criteria-Based Immigration

In a nutshell, these changes reflect a concerted effort to streamline and adapt to the evolving needs of Austria’s job market. Austria has been working on its immigration clauses to fit better with how jobs are changing. Keep an eye on these changes to ensure a smooth and successful application process. If you need help with any of these changes or need advice – we are here to help! Together with our lawyer, we make sure that your application process goes as smooth as possible.

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Author: Julia Hausstätter