Applying for Jobs in Austria from the non-EU country: Tips and Strategies

You would like to immigrate to Austria but you are not an EU citizen and you are asking yourself whether it makes sense to apply for jobs or whether there are some restrictions for you. In this article, you will get answers to your questions and you will learn what is your chance to get a job in Austria and what you can do to increase your chance to get a job and work permit.

You’ve completed your studies or some vocational training and you had an opportunity to apply acquired knowledge and to get some professional working experience. You’re considering emigrating to Austria to secure a better life for you and your family or you would like to bring your career to the next level and gain some international working experience.

However, did you know that you as a non-EU citizen need a permit to live and work in Austria? (The only exceptions from this rule are following countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein)

If yes, the next question is do you have a clue what are your chances to get hired and to get a work and residence permit in Austria?

Applying for Jobs in Austria from a non-EU country: Is it worth it?

If you are thinking that Austrian companies are only waiting and hoping that you will send your CV and they will do everything to bring you immediately to Austria you are making a huge mistake.

Austrian companies are required by law to give a priority to applicants with EU citizenship. Austrian authorities are trying to protect the domestic labor market and there are certain restrictions for non-EU citizens.

Although the number of English speaking jobs increased significantly over the last years still the most of jobs are German-speaking jobs or at least solid knowledge of German is required. Here is our guide about how to find an English speaking job in Austria.

Don’t give up immediately!

If you are determined to succeed and to do whatever it takes you are going to land a job in Austria sooner or later no matter which citizenship you have and what is your current level of education and skills.

How much time you will need to succeed depends on your current unique selling proposition (USP). If you have just an average education, average working experience in a field or position where there are more candidates than jobs this will not going to work. This is most probably the situation for example if you graduated in psychology or business and you have less than 3 years of professional experience as a recruiter or sales manager.

What differentiate you from the mass of other candidates?

This is the most important question which you should be able to answer before you start applying for jobs.  You should always ask yourself why the employer should decide to hire you among so many other candidates.

This could be many years of professional working experience in a certain industry or position?

Your USP might be your knowledge of certain foreign languages?

It could be your degree in informatics, mathematics, or technology. Or maybe you have a Ph.D. degree or you have scientific research that has been recognized?

Or simply you an experience is in a profession which is recognized as shortage occupation in Austria, for instance, you are a roofer.

If none of the above mentioned is your characteristics it will be a hard and long journey until you finally make it. You will need to develop your strategy and to save enough money to implement it. I am telling you the reality and facing the truth in advance will save you a lot of nerves, time, and money. Again, this doesn’t mean that you should give up immediately but it should help you to create realistic expectations and to prevent your frustrations.

Where to look for English speaking jobs in Austria

Our job platform is the best source because all jobs are only English-speaking jobs and there are all kinds of employers from very small startups to big international companies.

Permanent immigration: What are the options in Austria?

RWR Card for Other Key Workers

In my opinion, this is the most realistic option if you have your USP. Once you have a job offer you are applying for this type of RWR card. The key precondition that you get an RWR card and work permit for the job offer which you received is that there is no other EU citizen who has similar qualifications as you and who is currently living in Austria and officially registered as unemployed. Your employer has to explain and argue what are your specific skills that differentiate you from EU citizens who are currently unemployed in Austria. This doesn’t only mean that you have to be an IT expert. It means that you should have specific skills and professional experience which differentiate you from people who are currently unemployed in Austria. For example, if you are a sales manager with more than 5 years of experience in higher positions, especially in some technical field you have a good chance to get a work permit. It would be much easier for IT positions where just a minimal working experience of one or two years would be enough to differentiate yourself.

The whole process could take up to 6 months and this might be one of the main obstacles because some employers are not willing to wait that long and they prefer to lower their criteria or to look further until they find a candidate with EU citizenship because they don’t need a work permit and they can start working tomorrow. You can check the detailed system of points for this type of RWR card.

RWR card Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations

Firstly, I have to tell you that these are in the general type of jobs for which a small portion is qualified or willing to do this kind of job. These jobs are very demanded in almost every country in the world. On top of that for most of these jobs, German is required. Every year Austrian labor market service publishes the list of shortage occupations. If you get a job offer for any of these occupations and you can document that you have the necessary education and skills you are getting a work permit relatively fast because Austrian authorities are not going through the process of checking whether some EU citizens are unemployed and have the similar skills. It is possible to get this type of RWR card also without a university degree. For example, you can be a roofer and get it. Here is the list of shortage occupations in 2021.

EU Blue Card

The most challenging about this is that you need a job offer from an Austrian employer which is at least 65,579 EUR annual salary. This amount you can get only with a university degree and for senior or management-level positions. However, a huge advantage is that the Austrian authority won’t perform the labor market test to check whether there is an EU citizen in Austria who has similar qualifications and there is no points system in this case. This means that your age, knowledge of the German language, years of working experience, and similar won’t play any role.

Job Seeker Visa Austria

You can get this type of visa if you can document that you are a very highly qualified worker. These are the characteristics that could qualify you as a very highly qualified worker:

– Graduation from university (minimum 4 years program duration)

-Graduation in the following subjects: mathematics, informatics, natural sciences or technology (MINT subjects)

-Post-doctoral qualification or PhD

-Gross salary of over 50.000 EUR in the last year

-Research and innovation activities (patent applications, publications)

-Awards (recognized prizes).

You can check the detailed system of points for highly qualified workers.

How to immigrate to Austria from a non-EU country if you are not highly qualified and demanded in Austria?

If you strongly decided to immigrate to Austria you can always find a way to accomplish your goal. I would recommend starting a bachelor’s or master’s studies in Austria. In this way, you will immediately get a student visa and you can live in the country and actively search for a job. You will increase your chances because employers are preferring candidates who are already in Austria and with time you will improve your German skills. The tuition fees for Austrian Universities non-EU/EEA students are relatively cheap in comparison to other western EU countries and range from 400 EUR to 1.500 EUR per semester. As a student, you can get a work permit to work up to 20 hours per week and with your salary, you should be able to cover your basic expenses. If you don’t manage to find a full-time job you can finish your study program and get a privileged position which means that as a graduate of an Austrian university you are getting an RWR Card without a labor market test once you get a job offer which is a huge advantage. Also, after graduation, you are getting a residence permit for one year to search for a job in Austria. Learn more about the Austrian higher education system.

Other options to get a temporary residence in Austria are to attend high school, to do a volunteer program, or an Aupair program. Again, you have a benefit because you are legally in a country, you can work on your network and improve your German skills.

What you can do before you start searching a job in Austria?

Adapt your CV to the Austrian standards

This is a big mistake that so many applicants are making when applying for a job in Austria. This doesn’t mean that you have to write your resume in the German language. It means that it should be structured in a way that is characteristic of Austria and it should include all necessary information. For instance, having a photo in your CV is a must in Austria.

Austrian CV doesn’t look the same as the CV in the USA, UK, or UAE.

By not adapting your CV you are risking that no one will read your CV. And of course please send it only in PDF format. Learn more about Austrian CV.

Write a perfect cover letter

You should not write something like I am a very hardworking person or similar things which everyone can write and that your main motivation is to live in Vienna because I liked it a lot when you visited it last time.

Your cover letter should be one page with a simple layout and of course in PDF format.

Austrian employers have to state the minimum salary in job ads because this is their obligation by law. Some of them put a range which you could expect but in most cases, only the minimum salary for this position is stated. This means you will have to negotiate your salary. Before having an interview and starting with your salary negotiation make your research and find out what would be a realistic salary to ask for. However, it is not a big secret that if you accept a lower salary which is closer to the minimum salary that you will have much better chances to get hired, of course, if you are fulfilling at least the basic requirements for this position.

Search from a different angle

When looking for a job put your mother tongue in a search field. Maybe there are some positions where employers are desperately working for someone who is speaking your mother tongue. Even if you don’t have the best qualifications for this position they might hire you because the hiring manager considers language skills as a key to this position.

Do your research on Austrian companies that are doing business in your home country. These companies might be interested to hire you because you have knowledge about the local market and can speak the language.

Your network is your net worth and it might help you a lot

Try to work on your network and to improve it as much as you can. Maybe you know someone from your country who is already working in Austria and who could give you any advice or even recommend you for a job.

Never give up if you believe that your goal is worth your effort and I wish you a lot of luck and success!


Author: Sofia Ivanov is a blogger at AustrianCareer.at. She holds a MA in international business and also contributes photography to AustrianCareer.at


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