Foreign workers

Foreign workers can take up employment (e.g. employment relationship, quasi-subordinate employment relationship, apprenticeship contract) in Austria only under certain conditions. A foreign national is any person who does not hold Austrian nationality.

Citizens of the EU Member States and the EEA Member States of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein have free access to the Austrian labour market and therefore do not require authorisation to start work from the labour market authorities (they enjoy freedom of movement for workers). With regard to access to the Austrian labour market, Swiss nationals are also treated as EU/EEA citizens from the older Member States.

Citizens of third countries require a combined work and residence permit enabling them to take up employment with a specific employer (for example, a Red-White-Red Card) or granting them free access to the labour market (for example, a Red-White-Red Card plus). In exceptional circumstances, in addition to the residence permit or visa, authorisation has to be issued by the AMS (e.g. for students and seasonal workers).

The legal basis for the admission of foreign workers to the Austrian labour market is the Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz (AuslBG).


Third-country nationals holding a “long-term resident EU residence permit (” of another EU Member State may reside in Austria for three months in order to seek work.

The following persons and activities are excluded from the Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz (AuslBG) under certain conditions:

  • foreigners enjoying freedom of movement for workers (e.g. from EU/EEA Member States
  • new since 21 April 2023: Displaced persons from Ukraine who have an ID card for displaced persons
  • persons entitled to asylum and foreign national beneficiaries of subsidiary protection status
  • asylum seekers providing simple household services in private households via then service voucher system (
  • activities based on intergovernmental cultural agreements
  • diplomatic and consular activities
  • pastoral activities
  • crew members working in maritime and inland waterway transport
  • specific managerial staff
  • media reporters
  • researchers within the meaning of the Researchers and Students Directive ( EUR-lex)
  • scientists/academics and researchers
  • activities as part of EU education and research programmes
  • family member ( of Austrians who have a right to settle
  • staff of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
  • teaching staff of certain international schools (Vienna International School, American International School Vienna, Danube International School, Graz International and Bilingual School, Linz International School Auhof, Anton-Bruckner-International-School, American International School Salzburg, Vienna Elementary School, Vienna European School, Amadeus International School Vienna, Japanese International School in Vienna, International School Carinthia, Academic high school Innsbruck, Lauder Business School and Schools of the Lauder Chabad Campus)
  • exchange teachers and language assistants under certain intergovernmental agreements
  • technical staff of air carriers 
  • students and graduates under certain exchange programmes
  • foreign nationals who completed a training in a nursing assistant profession or in a higher service for health care and nursing in Austria and are authorized to practice the profession
  • teaching staff at universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen)
  • military experts
  • staff of the School of International Studies (Diplomatische Akademie) and of the Security Academy (Sicherheitsakademie)
  • Au-pairs who have received confirmation from the AMS
  • staff of certain international NGOs
  • family members of employees of International Instiutions or International Non-Governmental Organisations, including Quasi-International Organisations.
  • relatives of foreign diplomats on condition that the members of austrian diplomats are also allowed to work in the other country under the same conditions
  • working holidaymaker ( from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Chinese Taipei and the United States of America between the ages of 18 and 31
  • speciality chefs in fine cuisine from the People’s Republic of China

Workers are regarded as having been posted if an employer has deployed them in another country for a limited period in order to perform a specific contractual obligation, in particular a works contract.

Workers are regarded as having been hired out where a trader provides, i.e. “hires out”, workers to another undertaking to perform work for a limited or unlimited period. The service provided by the undertaking hiring out the worker is the provision of staff.

Certain procedural steps must be taken into account when posting and hiring out workers from third countries to Austria.

EU/EEA countries and Switzerland

By the virtue of the freedom to provide services within the EU, traders from EU/EEA countries are entitled to provide temporary cross-border services using their own staff in any other EU/EEA country, provided that there are no specific rules and the trader is authorised to carry on that business in the state in which they are resident.

Specific EU standards apply to cross-border posting and cross-border hiring out in order to protect posted or hired-out workers (in particular the Posting of Workers Directive) and those standards must be complied with in the Member States. In addition, the reporting requirements must be complied with.

On the basis of special agreements, workers posted from Switzerland to Austria are subject to the conditions for the posting of workers from EU/EEA countries to Austria.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 21 April 2023

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy

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