Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Austria 2014

image of Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Austria 2014

Austria has low levels of labour migration from non-EU/EFTA countries. At the same time, intra-EU free mobility has grown significantly and since 2011, overall migration for employment is above the OECD average. It recently reformed its labour migration system, making it more ready to accept labour migrants where they are needed, especially in medium-skilled occupations in which there were limited admission possibilities previously. This publication analyses the reform and the Austrian labour migration management system in international comparison.


Assessment and recommendations (English/Deutsch)

In July 2011, in light of looming demographic challenges, a major reform of the Austrian legal framework for labour migration took place, with the introduction of the so-called Red-White-Red (RWR)-Card for non-EU/EFTA nationals. The reform built on an initiative of the social partners, which play a unique role in the management of labour migration in Austria. It replaced previous regulations based on numerical limits by a points-based admission scheme, with a view to make the system more transparent and to increase the scale and scope of skilled and highly skilled labour migration to Austria. The new model has three main tiers – a highly skilled tier, a medium-skilled tier for shortage occupations and a labour market tested tier in the medium to highly skilled range with a salary threshold. Points are given for formal qualifications, language, age, and work experience. There is now a six-month job-search visa available for migrants eligible in the highly skilled tier and a facilitated student route. In addition, Austria has implemented the EU Blue Card in parallel with the RWR-Card system in 2011.


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