Can You Work in Austria with a German EU Blue Card?

Can You Work in Austria with a German EU Blue Card titlecard

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 German EU Blue Card holders can work and live in different countries of the European Union.

Working in Austria with a 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 your prospects.

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 German language (A1) level 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 there.

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 your opportunities in Austria.

In Austria, it will take 5 years to receive a permanent residency. So, think about your 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 up to 4 years.

  • A recognized university degree or a degree comparable to a German one. You can check if your diploma fits 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 ready to pay such a high salary. Luckily, another regulation applies to the earning level, 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, giving them an unlimited stay.

If you can prove your German language skills (B2) earlier, a settlement permit can already be obtained after 21 months.

The EU Blue Card is available across Europe, but Germany leads in applicants and issued cards, making it a top choice. Germany stands out as an immigrant-friendly country, offering faster and easier settlement permit processes compared to 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.

Employment offer mandates a minimum gross salary of 58,400 EUR annually, surpassing Austria’s by over 10,000 EUR.

STEM specialists, including engineers and medical professionals, require a gross annual salary of 45,552 EUR in 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 an 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 from your home country or Austria if you are entitled to enter the country. The latter will speed up the process.

Hold an EU Blue Card? Apply directly for EU Blue Card Austria or Red White Red Card Plus in Austria. Extend or change your residence title with an in-country application in Austria if you already hold an EU Blue Card.

How long is the EU Blue Card valid?

In Germany, the EU Blue Card is valid for 4 years; renewal is possible after expiration, but if the work contract is shorter, validity may shorten.

In Austria, the validation period is 2 years or matches the work contract length, capped at 2 years.

Can you stay outside of Germany during the EU Blue Card validity period?

EU Blue Card holders can return home or non-EU countries for up to 12 months without losing ownership. Quitting means expiration in 3 months without employment.

Additionally, the EU Blue Card entitles the holder to spend up to 90 days within 180 days in the other Schengen States for tourism. Therefore, you can spend your holidays in Europe.

What is Red-White-Red Card?

Hand doing a peace sign with a red and white stripe paint

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 job qualification.

This residence permit will oblige you to work for at least 21 months for one specific employer. After 2 years, it’s possible to change into a free labor market.

Unlike the Red-White-Red Card, the German EU Blue Card offers job market freedom, allowing employment flexibility without restrictions to a single employer.

Changes in Austrian immigration law from October 2022

To make the employment of non-EU citizens 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 quicker.

For example, IT professionals can now work in Austria on an EU Blue Card without official related studies; they just need three years of work experience. 

Minimum salary

Austria mandates an EU Blue Card, requiring a minimum annual salary of 45,595 EUR for residence permit approval. On the other hand, Key Workers have age-specific wage criteria.

The government has eliminated a higher minimum salary for applicants 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 corresponding to a related collective agreement and common local pay.

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