Austria to remove legal barriers for foreign nurses

Austria to remove legal barriers for foreign nurses
Austria is increasingly reliant on foreign nurses. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Austria has made it easier for foreign nurses to secure work, after changing the rules around the so-called ‘red-white-red’ card.

Labor Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) made the announcement on Monday. 

The decision comes due to additional pressure on the Austrian healthcare sector, which has become increasingly acute since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Austria will need an additional 40,000 nursing staff by 2030. 

Kocher said in a statement that his government would act to close a legal loophole “which has so far made it more difficult for highly qualified people to integrate into the labor market.” 

“We have a special need for qualified workers in the care sector, which has become even greater as a result of the crisis,” said the minister.

READ MORE: What’s the difference between permanent residency and citizenship in Austria?

Currently, nurses wanting to work in Austria from a non-EU country must have their qualifications recognised as part of what is known as a ‘nostrification procedure’. 

During this time, nurses are denied residence and work rights, reports Austrian media. 

This process is time consuming and can result in real delays, putting an even greater strain on the Austrian care sector. 

Under the new rules, prospective nurses can start working under supervision as the procedure takes place. 

Their application for a preliminary red-white-red card will need to be approved by the respective state governor before they start work, Austria’s Kurier newspaper reports. 


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