Living and Working in Austria as a Foreigner

typical landscape Switzerland with people

Are you considering working in Austria as a foreigner? You’re in luck. The country is one of the most prosperous in Europe and offers many job opportunities for skilled workers. Not only that, but Austria boasts a high quality of life, with breathtaking scenery, rich history, and a vibrant cultural scene.

Working Visa and Permits in Austria

Foreigners who intend to work in Austria are required to obtain a valid working visa and work permit. Depending on their country of origin and the intended length of their stay, different rules and procedures may apply.

Non-EU citizens must first obtain a job offer from an employer in Austria before they can apply for a work permit. This job offer must be for a position that cannot be filled by an Austrian or EU citizen. Once the job offer is secured, the employer will apply for a work permit on the employee’s behalf.

EU citizens, on the other hand, have the right to work in Austria without a work permit. However, they must register with the local authorities and apply for a residence registration certificate within three months of their arrival in the country.

It is important to note that the process of obtaining a working visa and permit can take several weeks or even months, so it is recommended that foreigners begin the process well in advance of their intended start date.

The Austrian Job Market

If you’re a foreigner looking for job opportunities in Austria, it’s essential to understand the country’s job market. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

Industries and Sectors

The Austrian job market is diverse, but some industries and sectors are more prominent than others. The most significant sectors include:

ServicesThe services sector is the largest employer in Austria, with jobs ranging from retail and hospitality to finance and IT.
IndustryAustria has a strong manufacturing industry, with companies specializing in steel, machinery, and consumer goods.
AgricultureAustria is known for its agricultural sector, with jobs ranging from farming and forestry to food processing and distribution.
ConstructionConstruction is a growing industry in Austria, with a demand for skilled workers in trades such as carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work.

In-Demand Jobs

As with any job market, some jobs are more in-demand than others. To increase your chances of finding employment in Austria, consider these in-demand roles:

  • IT professionals, such as software developers and network administrators
  • Marketing and sales professionals, particularly those with a background in digital marketing
  • Logistics professionals, including supply chain managers and warehouse coordinators
  • Healthcare workers, especially nurses and medical assistants

Employers’ Expectations

Austrian employers value education and work experience, so be sure to highlight your qualifications on your resume and in your job applications. Fluency in German is also highly desirable, as many job postings require it.

Additionally, Austrian employers prioritize a strong work ethic and professionalism. Be prepared to arrive on time, dress appropriately, and communicate respectfully with colleagues and superiors.

Thriving Industries in Austria

Austria’s economy is reliant on several key industries that contribute to the country’s high standard of living and overall prosperity. Here are three of the most successful industries in Austria:


Austria’s agricultural industry is thriving, with small-scale farming and organic production being significant contributors to the country’s economy. The country’s picturesque landscape and favorable climate provide ideal conditions for crop and livestock farming.

Key Statistics 
Percentage of GDP1.6%
Number of Farms167,000
Percentage of Organic Farms24%


Austria has a well-established industrial sector with a focus on machinery, steel, and chemical production. The country boasts a highly skilled workforce, modern infrastructure, and an excellent transportation network, making it an attractive location for foreign investors.

Key Statistics 
Percentage of GDP30%
Number of EmployeesAlmost 550,000
Major Companiesvoestalpine, Siemens, OMV


The service industry in Austria is diverse and includes everything from tourism and hospitality to finance and banking. The country’s high-quality education system produces a highly skilled workforce, making it an attractive location for businesses looking to expand their operations.

Key Statistics 
Percentage of GDP67%
Number of EmployeesOver 3 million
Major CompaniesErste Group, Raiffeisen Bank, Telekom Austria

Quality of Life in Austria

Austria is known for its high quality of life, with a strong social welfare system, excellent healthcare, and a stable political environment. Its cities are consistently ranked as some of the most livable in the world, offering a wide range of cultural and recreational activities.

Vienna is the country’s capital and largest city, offering a rich history, vibrant arts scene, and world-renowned food and drink. Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a hub for classical music and the arts. Klagenfurt, in the southern province of Kärnten, is known for its stunning lakes and mountain ranges, while the region of Tirol is popular for winter sports and outdoor activities. Burgenland, in the eastern part of the country, is known for its wine and stunning countryside. Other popular cities include Innsbruck, Graz, Linz, Villach, Steyr, and Wels.

Regional Differences

While Austria is a small country, there are still regional differences in culture and lifestyle. For example, cities like Vienna and Salzburg are more cosmopolitan, while smaller towns in the countryside may have a more traditional way of life. It’s worth exploring different regions to find the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Recreational Activities

From skiing and winter sports to hiking and sightseeing, Austria offers a wide range of recreational opportunities for residents. There are numerous parks and nature reserves throughout the country, as well as cultural events and festivals for all interests. The country’s central location in Europe also makes it easy to travel to other countries and explore the region.

Working Conditions in Austria

In general, working conditions in Austria are considered favorable for employees. Austrian labor laws protect workers’ rights and ensure fair treatment in the workplace.

Standard working hours in Austria are 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week. However, some industries may have different working hour requirements. Overtime pay is also regulated by law and employees must be compensated accordingly.

Employees in Austria are entitled to 5 weeks of paid vacation per year, which is more generous than in many other countries. Employers are also required to provide sick leave and maternity/paternity leave.

Health insurance is mandatory for all employees in Austria and is usually provided by the employer. This ensures that workers have access to quality healthcare and do not have to worry about the cost of medical treatment.

Additionally, Austria has a strong tradition of social partnership between employers and employees. This means that labor issues are often resolved through negotiation and cooperation, rather than confrontation.

If you encounter any issues or conflicts in the workplace, there are resources available to help. The Austrian Chamber of Labor (AK) and the Federal Arbitration Board (AMS) provide services and support to workers who need assistance with employment-related matters.

Education and Professional Development in Austria

Whether you’re looking to further your career or pursue higher education, Austria offers a variety of options for professional development.


Austria is home to some of the best universities in Europe, including the University of Vienna, the Technical University of Vienna, and the University of Innsbruck. These universities offer a wide range of degree programs in fields such as engineering, business, and the arts.

Most universities in Austria are public institutions, which means that tuition fees are relatively low compared to other European countries. In addition, there are many scholarship opportunities available to international students.


If you’re interested in pursuing a trade skill, an apprenticeship may be the perfect option for you. Austria has a long tradition of apprenticeship programs, which offer a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of fields, including construction, hospitality, and agriculture. They typically last between two and four years, with apprentices earning a salary while they learn.


For those looking to further their education but not necessarily pursue a degree, Austria offers a variety of studies programs. These programs are typically shorter than degree programs and may focus on a specific skill or subject area.

Examples of studies programs in Austria include language courses, vocational training, and professional development courses. These programs are available at universities, as well as private institutions throughout the country.

Finding Accommodation in Austria

Austria is known for its picturesque landscapes and breathtaking views, and finding the perfect accommodation to complement this can seem daunting. However, with a little research and guidance, you can find a living space that suits your needs.

There are many options for accommodation in Austria, including rental apartments, shared apartments, and houses. The rental market can be competitive, but there are many resources available to help you find and secure a comfortable and affordable living space.

Rental Prices in Austria

Rent prices in Austria vary depending on the location and type of accommodation. In general, cities like Vienna and Salzburg tend to be more expensive than smaller towns and rural areas. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vienna is around €800-€1200, while in smaller towns, it can be as low as €400-€600.

It’s important to note that some rental properties may require a deposit of up to three months’ rent, so be sure to factor this into your budget. It’s also worth considering the additional costs of utilities and services, such as internet and electricity, when budgeting for your living expenses.

Tips for Finding Accommodation

Here are some tips to help you navigate the rental market in Austria:

  • Research the different neighborhoods and cities to find the location that suits your needs and preferences.
  • Use online resources, such as websites and forums, to find available rental properties.
  • Consider using a rental agency to help you find a suitable living space.
  • Create a budget before you start your search to help you narrow down your options.
  • Be prepared to provide documentation, such as proof of income and a copy of your ID, when applying for a rental property.

By taking these steps and being patient, you can find the perfect accommodation to make your living and working experience in Austria a success.

Cost of Living in Austria

Before moving to Austria, it’s important to understand the cost of living in the country. The good news is that while Austria is known for its high standard of living, it’s still relatively affordable compared to other cities in Western Europe.

Below is a breakdown of some common expenses you can expect to encounter while living in Austria:

Rent (1-bedroom apartment in city center)€700-€1,200 per month
Groceries€250-€350 per month
Utilities€150-€200 per month
Internet and mobile phone plan€50-€70 per month
Transportation (monthly pass)€48-€60 per month
Health insurance€60-€80 per month

Note that these costs may vary depending on the region of Austria you’re living in and your lifestyle. For example, Vienna and Salzburg tend to be more expensive than smaller towns and cities.

Taxes in Austria

As with most countries, workers in Austria are subject to various taxes on their income. Understanding the tax system and requirements is important for anyone who is planning to live and work in Austria.

Types of Taxes

There are several different types of taxes that workers in Austria may be required to pay. These include:

Type of TaxDescription
Income TaxPaid on all income earned in Austria
Value Added Tax (VAT)Paid on all goods and services purchased in Austria
Social Security ContributionsPaid by both employers and employees to fund social security programs

It is important to note that tax rates and thresholds can vary depending on income level and other factors.

Tax Brackets and Rates

In Austria, income tax is calculated based on a progressive tax system. This means that those who earn higher incomes will be subject to higher tax rates. The following table shows the tax brackets and rates for the 2021 tax year:

Taxable IncomeTax Rate
Up to €12,0000%
€12,001 to €18,00025%
€18,001 to €31,00035%
€31,001 to €60,00042%
€60,001 and above50%

It is important to note that these rates are subject to change and may vary depending on other factors, such as whether the taxpayer is married or has children.

Filing Taxes

In Austria, taxpayers are required to file tax returns on an annual basis. This can be done online or through the mail. The deadline for filing tax returns is typically June 30th of the following year.

It is recommended that foreign workers seek the advice of a tax professional to ensure they are meeting all tax requirements and taking advantage of any available deductions or credits.

Popular Industries in Austria for Foreign Workers

There are several industries in Austria that are particularly attractive to foreign workers, thanks to strong demand and competitive salaries. Here are some of the most popular fields for immigrants hoping to find employment in Austria:

IndustryJobs and Skills in DemandAverage Salary
Information TechnologySoftware development, database administration, cybersecurity, project management€55,000 – €90,000 per year
Marketing and SalesBrand management, market research, sales strategy, advertising€45,000 – €65,000 per year
LogisticsSupply chain management, procurement, operations management, distribution€40,000 – €60,000 per year
FinanceAccounting, financial planning, investment management, risk assessment€50,000 – €85,000 per year

It’s worth noting that demand and compensation can vary widely within each industry, depending on factors like location, company size, and level of experience. However, these fields are generally considered to offer some of the best opportunities for foreign workers seeking employment in Austria.

Work Culture and Etiquette in Austria

As a foreign worker in Austria, it’s important to understand the work culture and etiquette in the country to ensure you make a good impression on your colleagues and clients. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Punctuality: Austrians value punctuality and expect meetings and deadlines to be respected.
  • Formality: Austrian workplaces tend to be more formal than other countries, with a focus on professionalism and hierarchy.
  • Communication: Austrians tend to be direct and to the point in their communication, and value clear, concise language.
  • Work-Life Balance: While Austrians work hard, they also value their free time and prioritize a healthy work-life balance.

When working in Austria, it’s also important to understand the cultural context of the country. For example, shaking hands is customary when meeting someone new, and it’s important to use formal titles like “Herr” (Mr.) or “Frau” (Ms.) when addressing colleagues or clients.

Additionally, Austrians value privacy and personal space, so it’s important to avoid asking personal questions or being overly familiar with colleagues. Business attire is also typically formal, with suits and ties being the norm in many workplaces.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of the language barrier and the potential for cultural misunderstandings. Taking the time to understand and respect Austrian customs and traditions can go a long way in building strong professional relationships and succeeding in the workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions About Working in Austria

As a foreign worker in Austria, there are bound to be many questions that arise about the job market, culture, and lifestyle in the country. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about working in Austria:

What kind of visa do I need to work in Austria?

If you are not a citizen of the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will need a work visa and permit to legally work in Austria. The type of visa you need will depend on your nationality and the job you will be doing in Austria.

What is the job market like in Austria?

The job market in Austria is strong, with low unemployment rates and a high standard of living. Some of the most in-demand industries include IT, healthcare, engineering, and tourism.

What are the typical working hours in Austria?

Most full-time employees in Austria work 38.5 hours per week, with the working day typically starting between 7:30am and 8:30am and ending between 4:30pm and 5:30pm.

What is the average salary in Austria?

The average salary in Austria varies depending on the industry and job position. According to recent data, the average gross monthly salary in Austria is around €3,500.

What is the cost of living in Austria?

The cost of living in Austria is generally high, especially in major cities like Vienna and Salzburg. However, wages are also generally higher than in many other European countries, so it can be a good place to save money if you manage your expenses wisely.

What is the work culture like in Austria?

The work culture in Austria is generally formal and hierarchical, with a strong emphasis on punctuality, professionalism, and respect for authority. It’s important to dress conservatively and maintain a polite and respectful demeanor in the workplace.

What are my rights as a worker in Austria?

As a worker in Austria, you are entitled to a minimum wage, paid vacation time, and other benefits like health insurance and maternity/paternity leave. If you have any concerns about your working conditions, you can contact a labor union or the labor department of your local government.

What resources are available to help me find work in Austria?

There are many resources available for foreign workers looking for employment in Austria, including recruitment agencies, job boards, and local chambers of commerce. You can also network with other professionals in your industry and attend job fairs and career events.

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