Residency permits For Members

EXPLAINED: How long can you stay in Austria if you lose your job?

Hayley Maguire
Hayley Maguire - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How long can you stay in Austria if you lose your job?
Losing a job is stressful, but it doesn't have to mean the end of your residence in Austria. (Photo by Pixabay / Pexels)

Losing a job can be a shock at the best of times, but it can be even more stressful if your residence permit is tied to employment. Here’s what you need to know about your rights in Austria.


For international residents in Austria with the Red-White-Red card, residency is tied to an employer. So what happens if you lose your job? Can you find another employer or do you have to leave the country?

The Local spoke to a legal expert to find out more, including your rights as a Red-White-Red card holder and how long you can stay in Austria while unemployed.

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What is the Red-White-Red card?

The Red-White-Red card grants holders – plus spouse/civil partner and children – the right to remain in Austria as a third country national (non-EU or EEA citizens). 

It is a residence and employment permit that is valid for two years and allows you to work for one specific employer. This means you cannot apply for the permit without a job offer.

The Red-White-Red card is open to applications from very high qualified workers (e.g. scientists), skilled workers in shortage occupations, key workers, university graduates, workers in tourism, agriculture and forestry, self-employed key workers and start-up founders.


What are your rights if you lose your job?

If you lose your job within the first two years of residency in Austria, you have to notify immigration and apply for a new residency permit to avoid losing your right to live and work in the country.

Lawyer Daniel Kirch, from Kirch Rechtsanwalt, told The Local: “The job loss must be reported to the authority, which would result in the loss of the Red-White-Red card.

“If possible, you should therefore submit a so-called change of purpose application (Zweckänderungsantrag) for a different residence permit to the authority, which will be granted if the requirements are met.”

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These conditions often include a secure livelihood and suitable accommodation. Kirch said it is also important that Red-White-Red card holders do not claim social assistance benefits at this time, as it could impact their right to remain in Austria, although this does not include unemployment benefits.


Kirch explained: “Benefits from the Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS) are not social care, but an insurance benefit, which does not harm your stay in Austria.”

Additionally, if you have a spouse or partner with an income and/or joint savings that meet the minimum requirement, then losing a job might not impact your residency status. 

The minimum income requirement for the Red-White-Red card is €1,110.26 for a single person, €1,751.56 for a couple and an extra €171.31 for each child (2023 values).

How long can you stay in Austria without a job?

Without a job, the conditions of the Red-White-Red card cannot be met, so the permit will no longer be valid in Austria. This means you could be ordered to leave the country if another employer can’t be found.

But in reality, the authorities usually take into account an individual's circumstances and consider if a different permit can be issued instead, such as a family or study permit.

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Additionally, Kirch said: “The Bundesamt für Fremdenwesen und Asyl (BFA) can state that due to strong ties to Austria, the stay can continue. The person concerned must then be granted a residence permit.”

It is also possible to appeal against a decision by the BFA in court.

But Kirch added: “It should be noted that an illegal stay in Austria without a visa or residence permit constitutes an administrative penalty. 

“This can be issued with a fine of up to €15,000, with the corresponding possibility of a substitute imprisonment.”


What about the Red-White-Red Plus card?

The Red-White-Red Plus card is not tied to employment with a specific employer and grants holders full access to the labour market in Austria.

As a result, if you have the Red-White-Red Plus card and lose your job, your residency status will not be impacted.

Holders of the Red-White-Red card can apply for the Red-White-Red Plus card after two years of continuous residency in Austria. 

Family members of a Red-White-Red card holder are also granted the Red-White-Red Plus.

However, when renewing a Red-White-Red Plus, proof is required that you meet the requirements, such as the minimum income and suitable accommodation.

Useful links

Work in Austria: The Red-White-Red Card

OeAD: Red-White-Red Card

Permanent Migration - Austria



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