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VIENNA

EXPLAINED: How to get free vouchers to learn German in Vienna

The City of Vienna offers coupons of up to €300 for immigrants to learn German in approved schools. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to get free vouchers to learn German in Vienna
Learning German is hard work, but worth it (Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash)

Moving to a new country undoubtedly comes with its challenges and those coming to Austria know that learning the language will invariably be one of them.

Though it is possible to live for a long time in Austria without speaking (much) German, especially if you live in the capital Vienna, integration becomes much easier by speaking the local language. And the City of Vienna knows that.

READ ALSO: ‘Brutal’: What it’s really like to learn German in Austria

Austria’s capital offers a series of free services for immigrants and subsidises their study of German in several ways, including by providing Vienna Language Vouchers.

What are these vouchers?

The Vienna Language Vouchers are vouchers in the amount of €150 or €300 that immigrants can use to subsidise their German classes offered by course providers approved by the city. You can see a complete list of German courses here. Besides being part of the approved course providers’ list, the vouchers are valid for A1, A2, and B1 courses.

Some of the courses cost less than the voucher itself, so you can save up a lot by using them.

Who is entitled to the vouchers?

People from third countries who need to fulfil the so-called integration agreement (necessary for issuance and extension of several types of visas, including the Red-White-Red) get three vouchers worth €100 each.

People from EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, that came as family members, employees or self-employed persons receive three vouchers worth €50 each.

To be eligible for the voucher, your primary residence needs to be in Vienna and you cannot have been in Vienna for longer than two years.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

Where can you get the vouchers?

The vouchers are part of the benefits given to people who participate in Vienna’s “Start” coaching program, which offers individual counselling appointments for new immigrants.

You can schedule an appointment with a City representative by calling +431905003604 (they speak English and several other languages, including Turkish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, and Spanish).

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ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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