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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.

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Context for labour migration to Austria

Austria has favourable labour market conditions compared with other OECD countries. Employment levels are high and in Q1-2014 the Austrian harmonized unemployment rate was the lowest in the EU, although it is on the rise and there are considerable regional differences across Austrian states. Demographic challenges are stronger than elsewhere and, in the absence of migration, Austria is one of the OECD countries in which the impact of demographic change on the labour market will be felt soonest. At the same time, labour shortages do not seem to be particularly pressing and widespread yet, although the available evidence suggests that there are currently some shortages in Austria, and that the incidence of shortages is growing. Despite a considerable increase since 2010, labour migration flows from non-EU/EFTA countries remain low in international comparison and new labour migration is currently not expected to provide a major contribution to countering ageing-related labour shortages. Free mobility, however, is important and per-capita flows from the European free-movement area are among the highest in European OECD countries.

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