Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Austria 2014

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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.


Executive summary (English/Deutsch)

Austria has favourable labour market conditions compared with other OECD countries, and the demographic challenges are stronger than elsewhere. Against this backdrop, a major reform of the legal framework for permanent labour migration – the Red-White-Red (RWR)-Card – was introduced in 2011 with a view to facilitate admissions of labour migrants in highly skilled occupations and to open up for migration for shortage occupations in the medium-skilled segment. The reform abolished numerical limits on permanent labour migration and converted the system into a points-based admission scheme. At the same time, the EU Blue Card was introduced. In spite of a significant increase since then, Austria still has one of the lowest inflows of permanent labour migrants relative to its population.


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