German EU Blue Card is the best option for highly skilled professionals who plan to live and work in Germany. But what if they want to continue their career growth in another country, like Austria, for example?
Holders of the German EU Blue Card are entitled to work in other countries of the European Union, including Austria, but only after they have been working in Germany for at least 18 months.
In this article, you will find helpful information on how holders of the German EU Blue Card can work and live in different countries of the European Union.
Working in Austria with German EU Blue Card
You can successfully work in Austria with the German EU Blue Card, but you need to think about the future too, so let’s see which prospects you have.
Basically, in the first two years of employment in Germany, job change is possible only within the same country and after approval from immigration services. After 18 months, one is allowed to take up employment in another EU country without restrictions. Therefore, you can relocate to Austria only after 1,5 years.
In general, Austria prefers international workers to apply for EU Blue Card for Austria if they plan to stay there permanently. You need to have a gross salary of 45,595 EUR, while in Germany, it’s 58,400 EUR.
If you quit or lose your job when moving to Austria, your EU Blue Card will expire after 3 months. So it’s better to find a job in Austria which suits your qualifications first and only after writing a notice.
Generally, EU Blue Card is valid for 4 years; so if you worked 1,5 years in Germany, you have only 2,5 years left in Austria. After that, you can apply for EU Blue Card Austria if your salary is above the minimum; if not, there is an Austrian version of the EU Blue Card called Red White Red Card.
All residence permits in Austria have shorter validation than in Germany, so the EU Blue Card is valid for 2 years and the Red White Red Card/Plus for one year, with possible extension in both cases.
As a holder of the EU Blue Card, you can apply for an advance option – Red White Red Card Plus; but it will be issued only for one year. The Red-White-Red Card plus entitles you to fixed-term settlement and unlimited labor market access (not limited to a specific employer).
You will need to prove the basic level of German language (A1) for this type of permit.
After a total settlement period in Austria of five years, holders of Red-White-Red Card or EU Blue Card Austria may obtain the residence title Permanent Residence – EU if they fulfill the requirements for this title.
Keep in mind that by changing your location, you miss out on the opportunity to receive a permanent residence permit in Germany which can be obtained after 33 months of living and working in the country.
The biggest benefit of this permit is that there are no restrictions regarding the labor market, and you aren’t longer limited to a specific employer.
Therefore, the wise decision will be to stay in Germany until you receive a permanent residence permit (33 months – 2,75 years) and see which opportunities in Austria you have.
In Austria, it will take 5 years to receive a permanent residency. So, think about your future plans and prioritize.
What you need to know about EU Blue Card
EU Blue Card is a long-term residence permit that allows highly skilled workers from non-EU/EEA countries to live and work in Europe for a duration of up to 4 years.
- A recognized university degree or a university degree comparable to a German university degree. You can check if your diploma fits into the criteria under “foreign university degrees” on this website.
- A job that matches your qualifications, with an annual gross salary of at least 58,400 EUR (Germany) in 2023.
Sometimes it could be hard to find an employer who is ready to pay such a high salary. Luckily, there is another regulation applicable to the level of earning, which you can see below.
Germany offers some special conditions for professionals in shortage occupations in STEM fields; for such specialists, the required salary is 45,552 EUR (2023).
This applies, for example, to doctors, and engineers, but also to scientists, mathematicians, and IT specialists. It’s a great opportunity for people who can’t find a job with a standard required salary, and in Austria, it’s even higher.
Speaking about Germany, after 33 months of living in the country, the EU Blue Card holders are eligible for permanent residency, which will give them an unlimited stay. If you can prove your German language skills (B2) earlier, a settlement permit can already be obtained after 21 months.
EU Blue Card can be obtained in almost all European countries, but Germany is leading in the number of applicants and issued cards. Moreover, Germany is one of the best counties for immigrants, where a settlement permit can be received much faster and easier than in other places.
EU Blue Card benefits
EU Blue Card has some exceptional advantages, including:
- Equal work and salary conditions for national citizens
- Free movement throughout the EU
- Social rights, including education, economic, cultural, human, and health rights
- Family reunification
- Rights on permanent residency
Conditions of the German EU Blue Card
To qualify for the EU Blue Card, an applicant must have a completed university degree and an employment contract with a German company.
An employment offer must have a salary of at least 58,400 EUR gross per year (over 10,000 EUR more than in Austria).
For specialists in STEM fields, e.g., engineering, medicine, or certain shortage occupations, the required annual gross salary is 45,552 EUR (2023).
The permit allows you to stay up to 4 years. After just 33 months of working on the EU Blue Card, you can obtain a Permanent Residence Permit in Germany.
If you can prove sufficient German Language level (B1), you can get permanent residency after 21 months. Read more about the permanent residence permit in Germany.
How to apply for the EU Blue Card in Austria?
Conditions for EU Blue Card in Austria are almost the same as for Germany, except for an annual salary; you must get paid at least 45,595 EUR per year before taxes (2023).
The application can be made either from your home country or Austria if you are entitled to enter the country. The latter will speed up the prozess.
If you already hold an EU Blue Card, you can apply for EU Blue Card Austria or Red White Red Card Plus directly in Austria; besides, you are able to make an in-country application to prolong your residence title or change its purpose.
How long is the EU Blue Card valid?
In Germany EU Blue Card is valid for 4 years after expiration renewal is possible; however, if a work contract is shorter than four years, the validity period may be shorter.
In Austria, the validation period is 2 years or equal to the length of the working contract but no longer than 2 years.
Can you stay outside of Germany during the EU Blue Card validity period?
EU Blue Card holders are allowed to go back to their home countries or other non-EU states for a maximum of 12 consecutive months without losing the EU Blue Card ownership.
But you can’t just quit your job and go travel in Europe, because it will expire in 3 months if you don’t have employment.
Additionally, EU Blue Card entitles the holder to spend up to 90 days within 180 days in the other Schengen States for the purpose of tourism. Therefore, you can spend your holidays in Europe.
What is Red-White-Red Card?
The Red-White-Red Card is an Austrian residence title for third-country nationals with certain qualifications, which is issued for up to 2 years. The main requirement is a matching job offer in Austria. However, this residence permit is issued only to specific groups of people, including:
- Very Highly Qualified Workers
- Skilled Workers in Shortage Occupations
- Other Key Workers
- Graduates of Austrian Universities and Colleges of Higher Education
- Self-employed Key Workers
- Start-up Founders
Therefore, Red-White-Red Card isn’t accessible for all applicants but for specific candidates. You can read more about each eligible category on the official website.
In some cases, Red-White-Red Card doesn’t require a degree, yet the applicant must have a suitable for the job qualification.
This residence permit will oblige you to work for one specific employer for at least 21 months. After 2 years, it’s possible to change into a free labor market.
The difference between Red-White-Red Card and the German EU Blue Card is that the latter doesn’t restrict you to work only for one employer, and you have free access to the job market.
Changes in Austrian immigration law from October 2022
To make the employment of non-EU citizens easier and more straightforward, the Austrian government implemented some changes to immigration law in October 2022.
That said, the application process for a Red-White-Red – Card or EU Blue Card will be more quickly in the future.
For example, IT professionals can now work in Austria on EU Blue Card without official related studies; they just need three years of work experience.
Austrian authorities required an EU Blue Card with a minimum salary of at least 45,595 EUR per year for applicants to grant a residence permit.
Furthermore, an applicant category Key Workers has two different wage requirements: one is for people below the age of 30 and one for 30 and older. The government has eliminated a higher minimum salary for applicants who are older than 30. Now people of age have to present a salary of 2,835 EUR and above.
Besides that, the minimum salary for graduates of Austrian universities isn’t longer applicable. Now, they must have a wage that corresponds to related collective agreement and common local pay.