Employing international students and graduates

Are you thinking about hiring a third-country national who is currently a student in Austria or who has recently graduated from an Austrian university? We are here to support you!

Special rules apply to third-country nationals who study at an Austrian university and who would like to work next to their studies. The same goes for such international students who have recently graduated from an Austrian university. Depending on your intentions regarding the employment of international students and graduates, specific work and/or residence permits apply. We are happy to support you in whichever process !

Employing international students next to their studies

Do you want to hire an international student who is in possession of a so-called Residence Permit Student ("Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student")? You as the employer need to apply for a work permit for your candidate to the AMS (short for Arbeitsmarktservice, the Austrian Public Employment Service) branch responsible for you. This permit is called "Beschäftigungsbewilligung", binding your student employee to you and issued for maximum one year with the option of extension.

  • Please make sure to check if your candidate does in fact have a valid Residence Permit Student ("Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student") before applying for the work permit.
  • Up until an employment of 20 hours per week, AMS simply checks if your candidate fulfils all criteria and then approves the work permit. If you want to employ your candidate for more than 20 hours per week, AMS has the right to conduct a labour market test ("Ersatzkraftverfahren"). This means that before approving the application, it first checks if any alternative candidates are available for the job. A labour market test may take several weeks if conducted (AMS has the option to not conduct it).
  • Is your candidate an international student but has a different residence permit, e.g., a Red-White-Red – Card Plus, a permit called "Daueraufenthalt EU", a permit called "Familienangehöriger" or a permit called "Aufenthaltskarte"? You do not need to apply for a work permit for your candidate in any of these cases, because those individuals have free access to the Austrian labour market and can be hired without prior consultation of AMS. Please just make sure to keep a copy of the residence permit in case of inspections.

Employing international graduates from Austrian universities

Do you plan on employing a third-country national who is about to graduate from an Austrian university or who has recently graduated from an Austrian university? Austria offers a special and privileged type of residence and work permit for such individuals: the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates. The basic prerequisite is a university diploma obtained from an Austrian university in the last twelve months.

While your candidate needs to present a variety of documents when applying for the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates, you only need to provide

  • Employer’s declaration ("Arbeitgebererklärung")
  • Information on the skilled worker’s classification according to the applicable collective bargaining agreement (details may be included in the Employer’s Declaration; alternatively: submission of the work contract)
  • Detailed job description in German

The Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates is valid for up to two years and can then be extended. In those two years, your employee is bound to you as an employer and cannot simply change the employer. Your candidate's family members (spouse, civil partner, minor children) may receive special residence permits as well, paving the way for the long-term residence of the whole family in Austria.

If you would like to know more regarding this permit option, e.g., which documents your candidate needs, where the application must be submitted, etc., please feel free to read more about the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates or contact us directly. The same goes if your candidate's graduation has not been obtained in the last twelve months.

We would be delighted to support you and your candidate every step of the way!

Do you have questions regarding the immigration, employment and retention of international employees? Our experts offer support before, during and after immigration and permit extension processes. We are happy to support you, your employees and their families every step of the way. As we have an official mandate by the Austrian Government, all our services are free of charge.

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