International students and graduates are important to Austrian companies as so-called “emerging talents” in the context of the global competition for qualified staff. In particular, graduates of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are in great demand by Austrian companies due to the increasing shortage of skilled workers in these fields and occupations.
How do international students manage the transition from university to labour market? What must they keep in mind if they have recently graduated from an Austrian university or will soon conclude their studies, and would like to settle down in Austria in the long term?
Working as a student from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you are privileged thanks to the EU’s free movement of persons. What does this mean for you? On the one hand, you are allowed to work in Austria during your studies, regardless of which field you work in, how many hours you work and for which company. Do you have an innovative business idea and would like to set up your own company? That’s great! To establish a start-up, e.g., Austria offers you a variety of funding options.
You can also remain in Austria without any problem after your studies are completed to look for a job and to then work in an employed or self-employed capacity. The important thing is that you can sustain yourself financially, and that you have health insurance. Please also make sure that you keep your Registration Certificate (“Anmeldebescheinigung”) handy.
Working as a student from a third country
You are allowed to work in Austria during your studies even if you belong to the group of students who are third-country nationals and have a Residence Permit – Student (“Aufenthaltsbewilligung Student”). If you have an innovative idea for a company, you can already establish your own firm during your studies. If you want to work as an employed person during your studies, your employer must apply for a work permit (“Beschäftigungsbewilligung”) before you are permitted to begin work. Please note that your studies must always remain the top priority, though!
Are you going to graduate in the next months, or have you recently graduated? Will your residence permit expire soon? Don’t worry! As a first step, you can extend your Residence Permit – Student for another twelve months and calmly look for a job during this time.
Once you have a job offer from a company in Austria which matches your education and provides a certain minimum salary, you or your future employer can apply for the Red-White-Red – Card for Graduates (“Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte für StudienabsolventInnen”).This residence permit paves the way for you to stay in Austria for a longer period of time and is the most suitable residence permit for your situation. It is ideally valid for two years and can be extended and converted to a so-called Red-White-Red – Card Plus afterwards.
What can we do for you as an international (soon to be) graduate?
Our ABA Immigration and Residence team supports international graduates and skilled workers, their families and the Austrian companies that employ them. To make your residence permit procedure as simple and efficient as possible, we provide you with customised document lists, up to date information, and double-checks. All our services are free of charge because of our official mandate!