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How Austria plans to cut the time it takes to get a work permit

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How Austria plans to cut the time it takes to get a work permit
A chef is seen through a window of Demel restaurant as she prepares famous desert dish Wiener Kaiserschmarrn on a rainy day in Vienna, Austria on March 31, 2022. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Austria's Labour Minister has announced the government intends to significantly increase the number of 'Red-White-Red' work permits, over the next few years.


In order to counter the shortage of skilled workers, ÖVP Minister for Economic Affairs and Labour Martin Kocher wants to significantly increase the number of Red-White-Red (RWR) Cards issued in the coming years, as he announced earlier this Monday.

The minister said that over the next four years the aim is to double the number of cards issued from 8,079 in 2023 to around 16,000.

He said that within a year, the government plans to half the time it takes to receive the permit.

Currently, it takes 25 days (from 28 days on average in 2022). He expected the shortened processing time to increase the attractiveness of the Red-White-Red Card and thus contribute to more cards being issued.

Less time, less bureaucracy

The medium—to long-term plans for the permit that allows skilled workers to immigrate to Austria include changes that will allow applicants to submit an RWR application online.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer had already stated that he intends to cut the time it takes to issue a card down to 72 hours. 

READ ALSO: How entrepreneurs can get Austria‘s ‘Red-White-Red’ card for skilled non-EU workers


As part of the reforms in how the RWR cards are issued, it has also become "easier" to get the permit, which is issued to workers who already have job proposals in Austria and can reach a minimum number of points in a point-based immigration system. 

For example, skilled workers in shortage occupations (a list of such professions is published yearly by the federal and state governments) were only able to get points for language if they spoke German or English. However, they can now get points if they speak other languages. A B1 level of French, Spanish, Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian now grants them 5 points each.

A worker who speaks fluent Spanish and English and basic (A1) German can get 20 points - and would need to score only 35 points in other eligibility criteria such as qualification, work experience and age to be able to apply for the RWR.

The same is true for highly qualified persons, who also benefit if they have concluded their studies in Austria.


The maximum age at which points are awarded has also been increased. Now workers aged up to 50 will grant can be granted 5 points, if they apply as a 'skilled worker in a shortage occupation', for instance. Perviously the focus was on younger workers.

It's relevant to note, though, that the points system works so that older workers are also allowed to apply, but the younger you are, the more points you are granted. 

Who are the skilled workers coming to Austria?

Last year, most permits were issued to applicants who can cook, as The Local reported.

The statistics show 156 permits were issued for chefs, most for Upper Austria – the fewest in Burgenland (3).


IT and business technicians followed in second place. The number of approved permit requests was 118—most of them in Vienna (21). Other permits were issued for people in healthcare professions (80), technicians, gardeners, sports professionals, hotel and guest industries, and office jobs.


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