• More Restrictive Eligibility Criteria for Some Red-White-Red Card Employees Proposed
  • December 13, 2018
  • At a Glance

    A draft law would change eligibility criteria for key employees under the Austrian Red-White-Red Card, awarding more points to relevant work experience and language skills, fewer points to young workers, and requiring more points overall to qualify under the points-based system. Young applicants with limited work experience would be less likely to qualify for a permit under the new rules, unless they have considerable language skills. The draft law is expected to be passed by parliament without significant changes. Affected applicants should consult an immigration professional to discuss their eligibility under the new system and explore alternatives.

    The situation

    A draft law would change eligibility criteria for key employees under the Austrian Red-White-Red Card, the immigration status generally available for locally-hired highly-skilled staff.

    A closer look

    • Proposed system. Under the new proposed new system, applicants for the Red-White-Red Card would require more points overall to qualify. Also, the overall points available would increase for those with relevant work experience, language skills and those who fit the relevant age qualifications.
    • Impact. Based on this change, older employees may gain more points based on their previous job experience, while younger employees may face difficulties in qualifying for the Red-White-Red Card due to the raised overall points and their lack in job experience. Young applicants with considerable language skills may fare better under the new system than those without strong language skills.
    • Unaffected categories. The eligibility criteria for the other categories under the Red-White-Red Card (very highly- qualified workers, skilled workers in a shortage occupation and self-employed start-ups) would not be affected by the new rules.

    Background

    • History of Red-White-Red Card system. The current changes to the points-based-system are the result of a recent Austrian court decision that qualified the system as discriminatory against older foreign employees. The points-based system for Red-White-Red Card applicants in shortage occupations was also amended in July 2017, also in light of an Austrian court ruling.
    • Integration efforts in Austria. Austria emphasizes the need for foreign workers to integrate into local society, requiring civic integration exams (or proof of German language skills) after stays of two years or more. The current amendments, which favor strong Austrian language skills, would further encourage the government’s goal for foreign workers to integrate into Austrian society.

    Looking ahead

    The draft law is expected to be passed by parliament without significant changes and is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2019. Affected applicants should consult an immigration professional to discuss their eligibility under the new system and explore alternatives.

    Fragomen will monitor developments and will report on relevant changes if and when they occur.