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WORKING IN AUSTRIA

Six official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Austria

If you are moving to Austria and planning to work once you're here, there are a few websites that you need to know.

Somebody sat a desk.
These are the key websites you should visit when planning to work in Austria. Pictured is somebody working at their desk. Photo by Tyler Franta on Unsplash

Austria is certainly one of the best countries to work in, with strong labour laws that give employees access to public health insurance through their employers, a minimum five weeks of paid vacation and many rights for families.

The alpine country is also known for its high quality of living. Residents can enjoy cheap public transport, public schools and plenty of free or cheap cultural, sports and leisure options.

There are also many vacant jobs, and the country is aiming to make it easier for foreigners who have qualifications to come fill in those jobs – many in nursing and healthcare professions, but a lot in several other so-called “shortage occupations”.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

If you are planning to work in Austria, here are a few government or government-linked websites to know.

Migration.gv.at

It may not look very modern, but this website will have most of the things you’ll need if you want to move to Austria – especially coming from countries outside of the European Union.

This is where you will find the infamous “point calculator” to see if you get the minimum amount of points based on specific criteria (such as age, education, and language knowledge) to be able to apply for certain work-based residence permits.

There are also many pages explaining the different visas, permits, and many other issues with migration to Austria. The website has a very extensive and complete English version.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The 2022 salary requirements for Austria’s EU Blue Card

ABA – Work in Austria

ABA – Work in Austria is a department of the Austrian Business Agency, which operates under the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs in Austria.

The website has plenty of information – in English – about Austria, living and working in the country, and its job market. ABA – Work in Austria also offers services, including relocation and recognition of qualifications.

Vienna Business Agency

Another site aimed at expats and immigrants but connected to the City of Vienna. The website is entirely in English (there is a German version, too), and most of it will have tips and services for businesses and startups settling in the Austrian capital.

However, there is also an extensive advice area for foreigners. 

People moving to Vienna can also schedule in-person and free appointments to receive advice on anything from setting up a company to paying taxes.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

Portal der Arbeiterkammern

This is the Chamber of Labour website, which is an organisation that represents the interests of 3 million Austrian employees and consumers.

Even if you are not a member, it still has plenty of valuable information on Austria’s working and labour market. The website, however, is only in German.

Der Wirtschaftskammer

Also, a local website, WKO is the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, and even though it is only in German, it holds a lot of information, especially on labour laws in the country.

Furthermore, it is possible to schedule a free appointment with an English-speaking representative to answer questions on employment, self-employment, and more.

READ ALSO: Which are the best companies to work for in Austria?

Public Employment Service Austria (AMS)

This is Austria’s official provider of labour-market related services. The government agency offers placement assistance and vocational counselling.

It is also the point of contact for those looking to register as employees, hire people or seek many of the benefits (including unemployment payments) that they are entitled to. It also has a job-looking platform.

Even though a part of the website is in English, most of the pages are in German only. It is also challenging to find people willing to speak English at the AMS offices.

Bonus website: The Local

Besides our news website, with pieces that will help you learn more about life in Austria and be up to date on the latest and most important information, The Local also has a job search platform where you can look for open positions which require only the English language.

Check out our jobs platform here. 

Do you know any other government or government-linked websites that might be useful for people working in Austria? Let us know: [email protected]

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MOVING TO AUSTRIA

Reader question: Do I need to open a local bank account when moving to Austria?

If you are moving to Austria, can you keep using your home country's bank account or open an international one online, or should you really have an Austrian one?

Reader question: Do I need to open a local bank account when moving to Austria?

One of the first issues people face when moving into a new country is whether or not to open a new bank account in their new country or if they can use either their home accounts or international online accounts.

Even long-term foreign residents started asking similar questions once new companies started offering online bank accounts that were not necessarily based in Austria, but could be opened by any resident in the alpine country

READ ALSO: 23 essential articles to help you navigate life in Austria

These online bank options are great choices for foreign residents. They are simple to use, have websites and apps in several languages, and usually offer a free option, with no monthly fees regardless of income. Unfortunately, however, none of the major ones (N26, Revolut, or Wise) have accounts with local Austrian IBANs (International Bank Account Number).

Does it make a difference? For example, can people keep or open an international bank account while living in Austria, or do they have to open an account in a local bank?

Non-EU bank accounts

It makes a huge difference depending on whether your bank account is from an EU country. However, in all circumstances, you are allowed to keep the account open, have money in it and make transactions using it.

It is just necessary to remember that Austria taxes your universal income if you are a tax resident in the country. So any income or relevant transaction should be added to your yearly tax returns.

READ ALSO: Anmeldebescheinigung: How to get Austria’s crucial residence document

Still, keeping only a bank account outside the European Union and living in Austria will be next to impossible. Of course, it’s impractical when thinking about currency exchange, but most establishments and organisations will also not accept transfers from outside of the EU or make them.

So whether you want to pay for your rent or receive government assistance, it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to do it via an international (non-EU) transaction.

What about an EU account?

Technically, having only a euro (but not Austrian) account is possible. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is a European Union initiative to simplify bank transfers. All 27 EU members are a part of it, plus other countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway, and Switzerland.

The system allows for fast and secure transfers between the SEPA countries.

One of the agreement’s goals is to extend the freedom of movement in the European Union, allowing its residents to keep a single euro-denominated bank account and a single set of payment instruments.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get your €500 Kurzarbeit bonus in Austria

So, you can use your bank account in a eurozone country for everything, including receiving salaries and buying things, in Austria. This is why international and online banks such as Wise or N26 have their IBANs based in Belgium, Germany or Denmark but can be used all over the eurozone.

Does it work in practice?

In practice, though, there is something known as “IBAN discrimination“. This is when an employer or company refuses to accept your SEPA IBAN for euro payments or direct debits. This is illegal under the SEPA agreement but happens often.

It’s not uncommon to find stories of people who have tried to sign up for a service or utility, such as paying for a mobile plan, for example, but were denied because their IBAN identification, though it was from a euro country, did not start with AT – was not from Austria.

For example, on various Facebook groups of immigrants in Austria, it is easy to find people who had their payments denied because their bank accounts weren’t Austrian. “Always ask your employer if they accept your bank account. I had one that especially wanted an Austrian IBAN”, wrote one foreign resident.

What should I do then?

Since not accepting a SEPA bank account is illegal, you can complain directly to the company or employer. In some cases, simply mentioning that IBAN discrimination violates the SEPA agreement and showing the official documents (including article 9 of the SEPA agreement) is enough to solve issues.

However, it can get more complicated than that. For example, some outdated company systems won’t allow new customers or employees to be registered with a bank account from abroad – the “AT” option comes pre-filled and can’t be changed.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about opening a bank account in Austria

Or it may be simply too tricky to talk in German to the utility provider to explain SEPA rules or demand something from your new employer. It’s essential to know your rights, and in Austria, you can also file a complaint with the competent national authority, the Financial Market Authority (FMA).

Other things can be tried in the meantime. In some cases, for example, some gym memberships are possible to sign up to and pay upfront with cash. Another workaround is to use the bank account of a partner or someone you trust. Finally, there are many utility companies in Austria, so if one phone company won’t accept your IBAN, maybe another will.

Of course, these solutions are far from perfect but may allow you to keep your non-Austrian or international euro account.

If the headache is just too much to handle, or if you prefer the advantages of having a local bank where you can visit, you can also open an Austrian bank account and keep both.

Here is our guide on what you need to know about opening a bank account in Austria.

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