Registration procedures and residence permits
Kinds of employment
- Within three days of moving into your flat, house or room in Austria, you must register with the relevant authority (registration office (Meldeamt) of the Federal Police Service (Bundespolizeidirektion) in larger towns and cities with a Federal Police Service office, at the Registration Service (Meldeservice) of the appropriate municipal district offices (Magistratisches Bezirksamt) in Vienna, or at the local council offices (Gemeindeamt) in smaller towns or municipalities.
- You must bring with you: a completed residence registration form (Meldezettel), passport, birth certificate, residence registration forms for all other places of residence.
- You can obtain the Meldezettel from the relevant registration authorities, or on the Internet.
EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals and their families (with EU/EEA citizenship/Swiss citizenship) do not require a visa to enter Austria or a residence permit to take up residence; they are exempted from visa requirements and are free to settle where they please. This means you may stay in Austria for up to three months without any further formalities, although you must be in possession of a valid passport or identity card. If you wish to stay longer in Austria, however, you must have health insurance and sufficient funds to support yourself and your relatives, and be able to demonstrate that you are in employment, are self-employed or are undergoing training in Austria. The appropriate authority must be notified of residence within four months of arrival in Austria. The authority issues a right of residence document (Anmeldebescheinigung). Citizens of EU/EEA countries may in addition apply for a Lichtbildausweis für EWR-Bürger (official identification with photo for EEA citizens). The Lichtbildausweis counts as proof of identity.
- Special arrangements apply to ‘privileged third-country nationals’, i.e. dependents of nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland who do not themselves possess EU/EEA/Swiss citizenship.
- Part-time working is widespread in the wholesale and retail sector. Part-time employees have the same insurance protection (health, accident, unemployment, pension insurance) and are subject to the same statutory employment provisions as manual and clerical workers in permanent employment.
- Seasonal work is common in tourism and in hotels and restaurants in cities and tourist areas. In the building trade, fixed-term employment contracts are also possible. Freelance service and work contracts are replacing conventional employment contracts in all fields of employment. Seasonal workers in the hotels and restaurants sector are subject to special provisions regarding their working time; they enjoy full social insurance protection. Nevertheless, the conventional contract of employment in a permanent employment relationship with all its rights (leave entitlement, protection against dismissal, social insurance, etc.) and obligations continues to be the usual form of employment contract.
- Independent (freelance) contractors (e.g. language instructors) enjoy limited protection under labour legislation, but – apart from a few exceptions (e.g. sickness benefit is paid by the health insurance fund from the fourth day of illness) – full protection under social insurance. They are also subject to unemployment insurance. They pay Chamber of Labour fees (compulsory membership of the Austrian Chamber of Labour) and contributions to the employees’ provident fund (MitarbeiterInnenvorsorge – Abfertigung neu (‘new severance scheme’)). In the absence of a specific agreement between client and freelance contractor, however, freelance workers have no claim to statutory benefits such as minimum periods of notice and holiday pay.
In Austria, anyone can take a job from the age of 15. Until then, all young people are required to attend school. Young people up to age 18 are covered by child and youth protection legislation.
Minimally employed workers (geringfügig Beschäftigte) (monthly income not exceeding EUR 395.31 in 2014) are covered by accident insurance. The employer must register this part-time employment with the health insurance provider. Voluntary health and pension insurance is available, to be paid for by the minimally employed worker. Under labour legislation (protection against dismissal, severance pay, etc.) minimally employed workers are treated in the same way as employees in permanent employment, except if the working hours amount to less than one fifth of a normal working week (e.g. eight hours in a 40-hour week), in which case the notice period is only 14 days unless otherwise agreed. Such contracts are on the increase in some sectors, such as wholesale and retail trade.
The category of ‘new self-employed workers’ covers all commercial activities for which a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) is not required and through which business income is obtained on a contract basis. New self-employed workers therefore mainly use their own equipment (computer, tools, etc.) and are not covered by social security insurance elsewhere as a result of this activity (e.g. through employment). This group includes e.g. writers, consultants, translators, lecturers and psychotherapists. The new self-employed have to report their activity to the Social Insurance Institute for Trade and Industry. They are covered by health, pension and accident insurance. Since 1 January 2009, self-employed persons have been able to insure themselves against the risk of unemployment under an ‘opt-in’ model.
Apprentices (trainees) in all sectors must conclude their contracts of employment in writing; they enjoy full insurance protection (health, accident, unemployment and pension insurance) and have special protection against dismissal.
Agency workers enjoy full insurance protection, but are subject in some circumstances to statutory provisions specific to them (e.g. shorter periods of protection against dismissal.
Voluntary workers have trainee status. They are under no obligation to perform work and have no claim to remuneration.
EU/EEA and Swiss citizens enjoy the same rights as Austrians, except where legislation governing the employment of foreign nationals provides otherwise.