Red-White-Red Card: This is the quickest way to bring international skilled workers to Austria


They are a decisive factor for the success of companies in Austria: those talents who bring passion, know-how, and team spirit into our companies. These talents can be found above all in the tech and digitization sector not only in the EU internal market but increasingly also in third countries. With the red-white-red (RWR) card and the blue card, Austria and the EU have created ways to attract non-EU citizens as specialists who want to work and live in the country.

“Highly qualified workers are welcome!”

Correct use of the RWR card and the blue card increases the chances of bringing a key worker to Austria drastically. The best contact for companies – from startups to corporate, is the Austrian location agency Austrian Business Agency (ABA), which will do everything in their power to help third-country nationals who immigrate permanently (for example who need a residence permit of more than 6 months) as quickly as possible to get into the teams.

“One of our tasks is to make the immigration of highly qualified workers to Austria as easy as possible. These international specialists are in great demand and welcome in Austria. The high-quality work location offers many advantages for them in an international comparison, ”says Anna Hackl from the immigration and residence service of the ABA. “We also support you in extending your residence permit so that these skilled workers remain with Austrian companies in the long term and further strengthen the business location.”

N26, Coinpanion & Kapsch

Christian Strobl, Austria boss at N26. © N26

Startups like Coinpanion from Vienna, scale-ups like N26 from Berlin, or large tech companies like Kapsch Converged Services use ABA’s services with great success to bring skilled workers into the country from non-EU countries.

In October alone, nine new employees from nine different countries will start in our Vienna office. The ABA has always supported us in bringing these international specialists to Austria with a red-white-red card ”, says Christian Strobl, Market Lead Austria at the Challenger Bank N26. “Nevertheless there is still potential to further reduce bureaucracy and accelerate the process of the red-white-red card in order not to lose highly qualified employees to other countries.”

The basic requirement for a fruitful collaboration with ABA, whose services both companies and international specialists can use free of charge, is a binding job offer. The process then goes through the following six phases:

  1. Checking the documents: The ABA helps to prepare all the necessary documents and, based on these, outlines the most appropriate way to start work. There are a total of 6 sub-types of the RWR card (suitable for certain target groups such as international graduates, IT specialists, etc.) as well as the blue card, which is particularly suitable for graduated specialists with appropriate professional experience (more than 65,500 Euro gross annual salary)
  2. Application: The company applies for the corresponding RWR or Blue Card
  3. Processing: Depending on the federal state, the responsible residence authorities and the AMS process the application, which usually takes a few weeks
  4. Approval: In the best-case scenario, the residence permit will be granted. When the ABA supports companies, the success rate is usually significantly higher than when the company tries on its own. A complete application that meets the criteria is usually approved quickly, even if the authorities still require detailed information
  5. Authorities: Now it is the turn of the specialist and immigrates to Austria, where she has an appointment with the residence authority and then receives her residence permit
  6. Completion: The specialist starts to work as soon as she has her residence permit

On average, the company and the future new team member should plan two to three months before the residence permit is granted. It is also important to know that the RWR card and the blue card have to be easily extended after two years – the ABA will also provide free advice and support here.

Make the process as easy as possible

Alexander Valtingojer, CEO of Coinpanion. © Coinpanion

“It can sometimes be very complicated to give workers from a third country access to the Austrian labor market,” says Alexander Valtingojer, CEO and co-founder of the Viennese startup Coinpanion. “It doesn’t matter whether it is a: e student: in or a: every attractive: r applicant: in from another continent: the ABA always helps to understand the particularities of the country of origin and the extensive To make the process of red-white-red cards as easy as possible.

Also exciting: A company in Austria can employ as many international specialists with RWR cards or Blue Cards as it wants – as long as the respective requirements for the residence permit are met. This is a great advantage in international comparison, especially for fast-growing companies.

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