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.


The respective roles of labour migration and free mobility in Austria

This chapter reviews the role of the different components of migration for employment – i.e. permanent and temporary labour migration as well as free-mobility flows – in meeting labour needs in Austria. Assuming that approximately half of free movement flows are for employment, employment-related free mobility is currently about 15-20 times as large as managed labour migration, which suggests that most needs are in fact filled by free mobility. That notwithstanding, while it is difficult to assess the labour market impact of the different components of labour migration to Austria, the available evidence suggests that free mobility and managed labour migration are complementing each other with free mobility mainly filling jobs in the medium-skilled segment. This stands in contrast to managed labour migration, where most permanent migrants are employed in highly skilled jobs, as well as temporary migration, which mainly concerns low-skilled seasonal occupations.


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