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Vienna: Employment and Work Permits

Are you ready to begin working in Vienna as an expat? The city on the Danube is not only Austria’s cultural center, but also an economic powerhouse with numerous business and career opportunities. Read our guide for information on job searching, business etiquette, and more.
Donau City is an important business center for Vienna.

First Things First: Finding a Job

You can approach the task of finding employment in Vienna in the same manner as in other places. Several internet portals such as Jobrapido, Jobs in Vienna or Monster are highly popular sources of classifieds from all business sectors and with all salary levels. Many companies also advertise leading employment positions in local newspapers and their online editions. A highly recommended source for high-profile jobs in Vienna and, in fact, all the German-speaking regions of Europe, is the web page of the weekly Die Zeit.

The Public Employment Service (AMS) has job listings as well. It offers advice and help for job-seekers at their many offices in Vienna. These services are in German only, though. If you are looking for similar services in English or other European languages, consult the pages of EURES, a European agency which works closely with its Austrian equivalent.

Do You Need a Work Permit?

Before you can start working in Vienna, there are a number of bureaucratic steps to take for getting an Austrian work permit. The following factors, among others, determine which work permit you require:

  • your country of origin or permanent residence
  • your occupation / line of work
  • your qualifications
  • the period of time you will be working in Vienna

In accordance with EU regulations, people originating from or permanently settled in an EU country don’t have to apply for work permits. This also applies to Swiss citizens.

Austria requires expats to provide evidence of basic German language skills prior to relocation. You can acquire a course certificate or language diploma from many acknowledged institutions such as the Goethe Institut or the Austrian Integration Fund. Please consult your local language institute for your options.

Get the Permit That Fits Your Needs

Generally speaking, finding a job will come the easiest if you are highly qualified or have an employment contract before coming to Austria. If you do not already have a contract, Austria provides another option: the country offers special six-month job-seeker visas for people who’d like to actively look for jobs in the country. This also gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with your future city of residence.

After the application process of about two months, you are free to explore the Viennese job market. If your job hunt has been successful, please consider that you now need to apply for a regular work permit.

Highly skilled professionals should apply for a Red-White-Red Card or an EU Blue card. These two include both a work permit and a settlement permit. However, the latter is of limited duration. Acquiring one of these will probably involve the least amount of paperwork and provide the quickest start to working in Vienna. Despite the rather complicated regulations, your future employer should help you make the paperwork as easy as possible.

However, there are many exceptions and special regulations you might wish to familiarize yourself with. It is highly recommended to visit the pages on migration affairs of the Austrian Federal Government to find out which option is right for you.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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