Austria || New government announces reforms to migration policies

The Austrian People’s Party and the Green Party have entered into a coalition presenting plans to simplify immigration procedures for qualified third-country workers.

On January 7, 2020 a new Austrian Federal Government formed by the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OeVP) and the ecologist Green Party was sworn in. A new Federal Ministry of Integration shall be set up and a number of changes to current immigration policies shall be introduced in order to simplify procedures and foster skilled migration to Austria.

According to the Government Programme released by the new coalition all current different migration Acts shall be reviewed and the requirements to be met by skilled third-country workers in order to receive the “Red-White-Red-Card” shall be simplified. The plan is to establish a one-stop-shop service for third country nationals at the Austrian Business Agency (ABA), informing applicants and hiring companies about the current status of the procedure, all this facilitated through a digital platform. English language documents shall be accepted for the application; in the long run, the application process to receive the Red-White-Red-Card shall be completely digitalized. Applications shall be reviewed by the involved authorities simultaneously (as opposed to the current system, according to which the immigration and the labour market authority act only consecutively). Furthermore, the proof of local housing necessary at the time of application shall be abolished. This would be a very important step to overcome the problem many applicants face when searching for accommodation while not yet having received a residence permit.

The new government also intends to speed up ICT Procedures (for intracompany transferees) and business visa applications by reducing bureaucratic hurdles. Regarding the family reunification, a better access to German courses shall be introduced by strengthening the cooperation between Austrian Embassies and language institutes; a single appointment at the Embassy shall combine the personal attendance at application with the German language test.

Especially a consolidation of the different legislative Acts involved when applying for the Red-White-Red-Card would foster possibilities to attract more skilled workers to Austria. Legislative changes and implementations will therefore be closely monitored by us. We look forward to assisting our clients in navigating the upcoming changes in the Austrian immigration practice.

Valentina Arnez

Valentina Arnez

Rechtsanwältin, Partnerin