11. January 2023

What you need to know about the Red-White-Red-Card

You come from a third country and would like to work in Salzburg? But you don’t know how to proceed here? Here you will get an initial overview of how you can work in Austria as a skilled worker from a third country.

Immigration of third-country nationals* is subject to some preconditions. The most important thing: first of all, find a job. If you have a confirmation from a company that they want to hire you, you can start working on the application you need for entry and employment together with the employer.

To be allowed to live and work in Austria, you need a valid residence title and an employment permit. There are several options for this, the most relevant being the Red-White-Red-Card (RWR-Card) and the EU Blue Card. Both are combined residence titles and allow you both to live in Austria and to work for a specific employer.

The Red-White-Red-Card is based on national legislation, the Blue Card EU on EU legislation. It is not so easy to know which card is the right one for immigrants. You have different requirements that you have to fulfil. With the EU Blue Card, for example, you need a higher salary than with the RWR-Card, but no proof of language skills.

Tip: You don’t have to find out on your own which card you need to apply for. If you have a job offer from a company in Austria, contact us. Our experts will be happy to assist you with your application!

What you must fulfil for the RWR-Card

Most third-country nationals are eligible for the RWR card. For the RWR card, they can apply for one of several subtypes:

Shortage occupations: If you work in IT, medicine, skilled trades, catering, nursing or engineering and have a recognised qualification in that field, you may well be in a shortage occupation. You can find all shortage occupations here.

Particularly highly qualified: For skilled workers with special qualifications
University graduates: For third-country nationals who have completed a university degree in Austria in the last 12 months and have a job offer that requires a completed degree.
Regular employees: This card is for persons who have already been employed in Austria for at least 2 years as registered regular seasonal workers and who now have a permanent job offer in tourism and agriculture.
Other key workers: This usually includes those occupations that are not shortage occupations.

Depending on which category applicants fall into, there are different requirements they must fulfil. Factors that play a role are:

  • Does the person have training in the occupation he or she is to perform?
  • How much work experience does the person have?
  • Is the minimum salary required by law met?
  • What is the person’s profession? Is it a legally defined shortage occupation?
  • How good are the person’s German or English skills?
  • How old is the person?
  • What is the person’s family situation?
  • Where does the person currently live?

A point system is used to assess whether the applicant will be granted an RWR-Card for most subtypes.

For example: An Albanian national gets 30 points for studying, 15 points for being under 30 years old and 10 points for her German language skills – thus she would have already reached the minimum number of points for the RWR Card for Other Key Workers.

Family members can also live and work in Austria with the RWR-Card Plus. Unlike the skilled worker, family members are not tied to an employer but have free access to the labour market.

New regulations simplify residence permit

An amendment to the law, which came into force on 1 October 2022, simplifies the application process. It removes major hurdles that in the past led to applicants not being granted a residence title. Here is a brief overview of the most important changes:

  • Language certificates are valid for 5 years (previously: valid for 1 year).
  • Work experience is recognised every six months (previously only full-year work experience was recognised)
  • There are additional points for English skills if the company language is English (previously this did not exist)
  • Proof of accommodation is no longer required in advance. The skilled worker only has to register at the place of residence (main residence) 3 days after arrival and in any case before collecting the residence permit, if he/she immigrates without family
  • Companies can also submit applications for the family of the skilled worker directly to the Austrian residence authority (previously this was not possible).
  • The RWR-Card Plus for family members is valid for the same period as the RWR-Card/Blue Card EU of the skilled worker, i.e. ideally for 2 years (previously valid in many cases for 1 year).

Tip: Please note that your future Austrian employer must submit the application with all complete documents to the competent residence authority in Salzburg. This guarantees a quick procedure!

Welcome to Salzburg

In any case, there are a few things to keep in mind! But this should not be an obstacle for you to come to Salzburg. Here is our appeal once again: Contact us. Our experts know which residence title is the right one for you, which documents you need, which requirements you have to fulfil, which authority is responsible, and they will be happy to help you in any other way they can. It’s better to ask once too many questions than once too few 😉 .

We will support you until we can say: Welcome to Salzburg!


*Third countries are states that are not part of the European Union. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are not EU member states, but have bilateral treaties that put their citizens on an equal footing with EU citizens. All other countries are considered third countries, for example Australia, China, North Macedonia or South Africa.


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