Reform of the Red-White-Red Card Passed by Parliament

More+Work & Careers ♦ Published: July 11, 2022; 11:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

In order to eliminate the shortage of suitable workers, the Austrian parliament recently decided to change the criteria for the Red-White-Red Card. In future, it should be easier to obtain this card. Austria's economy is relieved. If you want to know the exact changes, read on!

Harald Mahrer, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, is pleased with the changes. / Picture: © WKO Austrian Chamber of Commerce

More and more companies in Austria are complaining about a lack of workers. Now a legislative package has been passed by the government to facilitate access to the Austrian labour market for foreign workers from third countries. Recently, this new regulation was given the green light in the National Council.

For the most part, it facilitates access to the labour market for non-EU citizens through relaxed conditions for obtaining the Red-White-Red Card and permanent labour market access for regular seasonal workers.

One of the important innovations is that the points system in shortage occupations has been adjusted, making it easier for people without a university degree to obtain the required number of points. This upgrades the apprenticeship within the Red-White-Red Card.

In addition, approval procedures are to be accelerated and start-ups facilitated by reduced share capital requirements. Likewise, a passage in the law that currently only allows private and non-profit employment agencies to place third-country nationals to a very limited extent will be deleted without replacement.

In future, the minimum requirements for the Red-White-Red Card, for example with regard to language skills and remuneration, will be relaxed. In addition, the minimum wage for graduates of domestic universities and universities of applied sciences will be completely eliminated.

Furthermore, knowledge of English will be put on an equal footing with knowledge of German, provided that the language used in the company is English. Hurdles for foreign start-up founders will be reduced by lowering the required share capital from 50,000 to 30,000 euros.

Furthermore, permanent access to the labour market will be established for registered regular seasonal workers who have worked in tourism businesses or in agriculture for more than seven months at a time for at least two years, regardless of their age or qualifications. The prerequisites are sufficient German language skills at A2 level and the offer of a permanent employment contract.

Approval of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) is pleased with the innovations of the Red-White-Red Card. "With the reform of the Red-White-Red Card, important concerns of the business community have been taken up. We are pleased that the National Council has passed the reform today and that it can thus be implemented," says Harald Mahrer, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

Especially in times of labour shortages, it is necessary for companies to have easier and quicker access to skilled workers from third countries.

"We know that this is only one of many measures against the labour shortage, but every single one counts. The reform will make the Red-White-Red Card a much more effective instrument than it was in the past," says WKÖ Secretary General Karlheinz Kopf. "Due to the enormous labour shortage, however, further measures will be needed," Kopf adds.

But the WKÖ is also very pleased with the newly created possibility of short-term deployment of specialists, as the government is implementing a long-standing demand of the business community.

"Specialists are often only needed for individual projects. Forcing applicants to go through a lengthy procedure here does not correspond to the modern working world and would be counterproductive," says Mahrer.

Austrian Parliament

WKO Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce