Austria: Amendment to the Employment of Foreign Nationals Act
To facilitate the recruitment and labor market access of qualified workers from third countries, it is intended to streamline the admission procedure at the residence authorities and the Labor Market Service (AMS). In addition, it is planned that the “Austrian Business Agency österreichische Industrieansiedlungs- und WirtschaftswerbungsgmbH” (ABA) will support applicants by providing information and promoting digitalization. Please find below an overview of the new rules.
The maximum period of four weeks for employment without a license in the context of an overall artistic production has proven to be too short in practice. By doubling the period of permit-free employment in the context of musical, opera or guest orchestra productions, the presence of artistic personnel in Austria for a period exceeding four weeks is ensured.
For particularly qualified workers from third countries who are temporarily employed in addition to permanent staff and are hired to carry out temporary projects (especially in the IT sector), there is now the possibility to issue the necessary employment permits for a maximum of 6 months.
For the admission of “other key personnel” and “graduates”, the distribution of points (that are essential for the approval of the permit application) is changing. Currently, applicants receive one point per year of professional experience. Under the new law,points are now granted per half year of professional experience. In addition, English language skills will be treated equally to German language skills, provided that the predominant company language is English.
The new regulations shall accelerate the official procedures for EU Blue Card holders in case they change employers. A holder of a EU Blue Card may provisionally take up highly qualified employment with the new employer after a waiting period of 30 days from the date of application. He may do so regardless of whether a decision on the application has already been made.
In the future, employers are entitled to submit applications for Red-White-Red cards for family members of a foreigner if the application is submitted at the same time. Also, in order to streamline the procedures, the “government program” stipulates that the necessary substitute worker examination should be expedited and, if possible, carried out within 10 days. This way, the Labor Market Service is urged to carry out the labor market examination, which is obligatory in Austria, without delay.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
- The Austrian legislator has introduced facilitations access to the labor market and in residence that benefit not only foreign employees but also employers.
- We recommend that HR and In-House Counsels get familiar with all the legal changes, as it can make their day-to-day work easier.