Whether and in what form you are allowed to work is dependent on your residence status. People who have been granted asylum and subsidiary protection have free access to the labour market. Asylum seekers in ongoing asylum proceedings only have restricted employment possibilities.
I am seeking asylum – am I allowed to work?
As an asylum seeker, you are allowed to work with restrictions three months after you have been admitted to the asylum procedure. Please, however, be sure to note the thresholds for additional income that you are allowed to earn. The following types of employment are possible:
Charitable work is an ancillary activity in organisations of the state, province or municipal authority. You can receive an acknowledgement contribution for this. The Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) has drawn up a catalogue of benefits for these tasks. In organisations of the state, provinces or municipalities in Vienna, you can receive a maximum of 200 euros per month from charitable ancillary work.
You can also be self-employed. Please note that you lose your entitlement to the basic services when you register a trade.
Household-typical services in private households ("Dienstleistungscheck")
As an asylum seeker, you can also take over household-typical services in private households (e.g. gardening, assistance with cleaning). Payment has to be agreed between employer and employee. It may not be below the valid minimum wage under the collective bargaining agreement. So that the service contract can be used, employer and employee have to register beforehand. Registration is also possible online. You do not require any employment permit for this type of employment.
Please note that there is an allowance in the amount of 110 euros per month in the basic services (BMI). This means that you are allowed to earn a maximum of 110 euros per month via the service contract without losing your entitlement to basic social services. This allowance increases by 80 euros per month in each case for the spouse or for each minor child. IMPORTANT: The amount given in various information sheets of 583.15 euros per month is the threshold that is decisive for the question of whether you require a permit for the work pursuant to the Aliens' Employment Act. This amount is not relevant for the basic social services; in the basic services (Grundversorgung), solely the threshold of 110 euros per month counts.
You can also complete a traineeship. A traineeship lasts a maximum of 3 months and serves to extend and apply knowledge and/or to acquire skills that can be put into practice. You will not be paid for this.
How do I get an employment permit?
I have been granted asylum – am I allowed to work?
As a person who has been granted asylum, you have free access to the labour market. You do not require an employment permit and can apply for a job anywhere in Austria.
I have been granted subsidiary protection – am I allowed to work?
As a person who has been granted subsidiary protection you do not require an employment permit and can apply for a job.
How do I find a job when I have been granted asylum or subsidiary protection?
Currently, most vacancies in Vienna are in the construction industry, in retail, in the catering sector and in the service area. However, there are more people seeking work than vacancies. There are also more people seeking an apprenticeship than apprenticeships available. The number of vacancies is also dependent on the federal province. It is therefore worthwhile also looking for jobs in other federal provinces. The most information about vacancies can be obtained from the Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS). There you will also receive information about prerequisites such as training, work permit, payment, etc. Since 2 May 2017, the AMS Vienna has been operating the central initial advice office "Beratungsstelle für Asylberechtigte und subsidiär Schutzberechtigte" ("Advice centre for people who have been granted asylum and subsidiary protection"; Landstraßer Hauptstraße 26, 3rd floor, 1030 Vienna). Only persons who have been granted asylum and subsidiary protection who receive their acknowledgement status from 2 May 2017 onwards will be assisted there. People who have already been acknowledged beforehand and have already reported to a regional office of the AMS and are pre-registered or who are entitled to unemployment benefit will continue to receive assistance in the regional offices responsible according to the residential districts. The AMS also provides information about professions, career guidance and applications. You can also apply for jobs advertised in newspapers or on the Internet. In Austria, a letter of application along with a CV is usually requested with the application.
What is compulsory training up until the age of 18?
People who have been granted asylum and subsidiary protection between the ages of 15 and 18 are subject to compulsory training after compulsory education has ended (9 years). This means they have to attend a college or complete an apprenticeship. In addition, within the framework of the Vienna training guarantee, there is supra-company training for those who cannot find an apprenticeship at a company. Information about this can be obtained from the "Koordinierungsstelle AusBildung bis 18 Wien" which is the central info hub in Vienna for all questions relating to the topic of training up until the age of 18. Further info at www.kost-wien.at and/or tel.: 01/342 707-2754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the training guarantee up to the age of 25?
There is a training guarantee for young people from the age of 19 until the age of 24. The associated measures for qualification are directed at young people and young adults who have not yet completed any training. The AMS für Jugendliche is responsible for this. Further information on the topic of "education" can be found HERE.
I already have training – Can I get this recognised?
For certain professions ("regulated professions"), training from abroad must be state-recognised in Austria if you wish to practise this profession in Austria. At www.berufsanerkennung.at you can enter your profession and check whether it is a regulated profession. You will also find out there what authority or which ministry is responsible. Foreign school certificates and foreign academic qualifications can be recognised. Foreign vocational training for reglemented professions can be "considered equivalent". If you have any questions, you can seek advice from the experts of the "PERSPEKTIVE – Anerkennungs- und Weiterbildungsberatungssstelle für Asylberechtigte und NeuzwanderInnen" (PERSPECTIVE – Recognition and further training advice centre for people who have been granted asylum and new immigrants of the Advice centre for migrants/Beratungszentrum für Migrantinnen und Migranten. For professions for which there are no specifications ("non-reglemented professions") and certificates of school-leaving qualifications, you can have an assessment done online. This assessment aims to give you orientation and can help to assess your training compared to Austrian training. For school certificates, the application can be filed online and free of charge at www.asbb.at . You can have vocational training assessed at www.aais.at .
Can I catch up with training and is there assistance for it?
You can catch up with training. If you are registered as a job seeker, the Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS) will support you. If you are already employed and wish to gain a higher qualification or wish to change your profession, the waff (Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds) will support you with advice, funding and information. You can obtain more information from the waff hotline on 0800/868686.
What forms of vocational training are there in Austria?
The Austrian labour market can be divided into the following forms of training:
- Academics: These are people with a training recognised in Austria that they have acquired at a university, university of applied sciences or teacher training college.
- Specialists: These are people who have completed vocational training - in the form of an apprenticeship or a qualification at a school for vocational training that is recognised in Austria.
- Apprentices: These are people who are currently undergoing vocational training.
- Auxiliary and semi-skilled personnel: These are people who have not completed vocational training.
What characterises an employment relationship?
With an employment relationship, the employer undertakes to perform work. The employer undertakes to pay the remuneration (also: salary or wage). An employment contract does not have to be in writing. A verbal agreement is also valid. There is no entitlement to a written work contract.
Statement of terms and conditions of employment
If your employment contract lasts longer than 1 month, your employer must issue a so-called "Dienstzettel", a statement of terms and conditions of employment. This is a written record of the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship.
What forms of employment are there on the Austrian labour market?
There are the following forms of employment on the Austrian labour market:
Dependent normal employment relationship
This is employment with weekly working hours of between 35 and 40 hours. Social insurance and income tax are automatically deducted from the agreed gross wage. The net wage is paid out. The employees have accident, health, unemployment and pension insurance. The labour law and the collective bargaining agreement for the respective sector apply.
Dependent part-time employment relationship
This employment relationship only differs from a dependent normal employment relationship in the lower number of weekly working hours.
With this form of employment, the employed person only works a few hours a week. The monthly payment may not exeed the marginal employment threshold of EUR 425.70 (status: 2017). The employees only have accident insurance.
With a freelance contract, there are usually no fixed working times. You are also not entitled to holiday or continued pay during illness. You are not bound by instruction; this means that you are not bound by any instructions from a supervisor. Orders will be carried out in person. Freelancers use the operating equipment of the client. Although freelancers are subject to social insurance, the majority of the statutory protection provisions do not apply for them. Collective bargaining agreements also do not apply for freelancers. They have to pay tax on their income themselves.
Self-employed people do not have any employment contract. Self-employed persons are not bound by instructions and carry out their work autonomously. Self-employed persons use their own operating equipment. There are liberal trades and those for which certain prerequisites have to be met pursuant to the Trade Code. Trades have to be registered with the trade authority. With reglemented trades, the trade will be approved by the authority by means of a notification. Self-employed persons have to insure themselves. If you would like to be advised on the topic of self-employment, you can contact Vienna Business Agency/Wirtschaftsagentur Wien. The organisation Vienna Business Agency/Wirtschaftsagentur Wien is the first point of contact for Viennese companies, international firms and start-ups. The range of services offered incorporates monetary funding, support in company locations, real estate, network contacts and consulting and workshops: free of charge and in 17 languages. Vienna Business Agency also offers its own services for entrepreneurs with a migration background. The company idea and important basics are discussed at initial meetings. In the start-up workshops, all the important information regarding company start-ups and self-employment is conveyed. The range of languages offered also includes the languages Farsi and Arabic. For people who want to be self-employed, the company service of the Austria Economic Chamber/Wirtschaftskammer also offers counselling.
What rights do employees have?
For all employees, the social insurance law, the labour law and the minimum standards under the collective bargaining agreement apply in Austria. If there is a works council in a company, there can also be company agreements. A works council can be established in a company with at least 5 employees. The employer is also responsible for safety at the workplace and must adhere to the period of notice.
Your employer is obligated by law to register you with the health insurance company (medical, accident and pension insurance) and to hand over to you a copy of this registration confirmed by the health insurance company. Medical, pension and accident insurance are part of the social insurance. Unemployment insurance is also part of the social insurance. Only an employment with remuneration above the "marginal employment threshold" (2017: EUR 425.70) offers all insurances. Employees in marginal employment only have accident insurance and do not acquire any pension insurance times.
Application for employment permit
For employees without free access to the labour market, the employer has to apply for an employment permit from the Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS).
For your work, you are entitled to payment in the form of so-called "remuneration" (also called wage or salary). The remuneration must be agreed with your employer. The agreed remuneration may not be lower than the minimum remuneration that has been agreed with the so-called "collective agreement". The employer is responsible for ensuring that overtime and supplements as well as the 13th and 14th salary (holiday and Christmas allowance) are paid correctly. You are only then entitled to holiday and Christmas allowance if the collective bargaining agreement includes this or if this has been contractually agreed. If your wage is not paid, you must claim the remuneration from the employer in writing with a registered letter.
Every employee has the right to at least 5 weeks of paid holiday per work year. Holiday must always be agreed between the employer and the employee.
If you are ill ("sick leave"), the employer must pay you the full remuneration for at least 6 weeks and half the remuneration for 4 weeks. In these 4 weeks, you are already entitled to half the sick allowance from the health insurance company.
What obligations do employees have?
You have to comply with the agreements that have been defined with your employment contract (in writing, orally or by conclusive action).
Work and working hours
The tasks that you regularly have to carry out are recorded in your work contract. The working hours are also agreed in it. The allocation of the working hours to the individual weekdays is also recorded in it. You are obligated to turn up for work on the defined working days and to carry out the tasks specified for you in the agreed period of time.
Reporting in sick
If you are ill and do not come to work, you are obligated to report to your employer on the first day. If your employer so requests, you also have to present a doctor's certificate. If you do not report in sick in time, or do not present a certificate from a doctor, you are not entitled to continued pay.
Who represents the rights of wage earners?
In Austria, there are more than three million wage earners and around 320,000 employers. In many points, these groups are of the same opinion. But there are also differences: How much should salary earners earn? How many hours a day or week should people work? Should there be a holiday or Christmas bonus? In order to be able to negotiate that, the employees have created two organisations in the past hundred years: the trade unions and the Arbeiterkammer Wien/Chamber of Labour (AK). The umbrella organisation of all trade unions is the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB). The AK works closely with the ÖGB and the trade unions. The AK collaborates on laws, provides advice on labour law and offers consumer protection. Wage and salary earners are automatically a member of the AK. The ÖGB and the trade unions – here you have to join to be a member – fight for higher wage agreements. Together with the works councils, the trade unions represent the wage and salary earners in companies. The organisation Arbeiterkammer Wien (Vienna Chamber of Labour) represents the interests of all wage and salary earners in Vienna.
What happens when I become unemployed?
An unemployed person is somebody who does not find any new work after his or her employment contract has ended. In order to be entitled to unemployment benefit, 52 weeks of employment "subject to unemployment insurance" within the last 24 months are required. If that person has already received unemployment benefit in Austria, 28 weeks of employment "subject to unemployment insurance" within the last 12 months are required. The Arbeitsmarktservice (AMS) supports you in the search for work, pays unemployment benefit or emergency assistance and can also sponsor courses (e.g. German courses, retraining).The waff (Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds) also offers services in collaboration with the AMS. More information on this can be found HERE. Emergency assistance is possible after unemployment benefit has ended. The emergency assistance is 92 to 95 per cent of unemployment benefit.
What happens if my illness or disability limits my ability to work?
Even for people with illnesses or disabilities, participation in working life is envisaged as long as the health permits a professional activity. Depending on whether it is a temporary or permanent restriction, what profession you are employed in, and how long you have worked in Austria, there are several competent bodies: Public Employment Service, Pensionsversicherungsanstalt, Wiener Gebietskrankenkasse, MA 40, Sozialministeriumservice and others.
Advice on this topic is available for example here:
- DIAKONIE - Sozialmedizinische Beratungsstelle für Flüchtlinge mit gesundheitlichem Unterstützungsbedarf
- AK Wien
- Krebs und Beruf
Chamber of Labour/Arbeiterkammer
Vienna Chamber of Labour/Arbeiterkammer Wien
Advice centre for migrants/Beratungszentrum für Migrantinnen und Migranten
Bundesministerium für Inneres
Online assessment of school qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education
Online assessment of vocational training by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research
Austrian Trade Federation
Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection
Start Wien – Das Jugendcollege
Review of professional recognition in Austria
Vienna Employment Promotion Fund/Wiener ArbeitnehmerInnen Förderungsfonds
Vienna Business Agency/Wirtschafskammer Wien
Austrian Economic Chambers/Wirtschafskammer Wien