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June 29, 2024 Comments (0)

Austrian Employment Laws: What Employers Need to Know About Foreign Workers

Austria’s booming job market is increasingly turning to foreign employees to fill crucial positions. The government recently highlighted its interest in skilled workers from the Philippines, a trend seen across various industries. With over 5,000 Filipinos already thriving in Austria’s hospitality, food service, and healthcare sectors, the demand is only growing. 

But before you welcome Filipino workers to your team, it’s essential to understand the employment and immigration laws for foreign workers. 

This blog will be your guide to foreign recruitment processes, work permits, and labour law compliance. We’ll also explore how Austria recruitment agencies can streamline these tasks, saving you valuable time and resources. 


Understanding Austrian Employment Laws

The Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz – AuslBG) is the base legislation regulating the admission of foreign workers to the Austrian labour market. It outlines the requirements for work permits and residence permits. 

Other Austrian regulations for foreign workers include: 

• Labor Constitution Act – This act outlines the fundamental principles of labour law in Austria, including the rights and obligations of employees and employers.

• Equal Protection Act - This act ensures equal treatment and protection for all employees, including those from non-EU countries, by prohibiting discrimination based on various grounds such as gender, ethnicity, and more.

• Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz) - This act regulates working hours, overtime, and paid leave for employees in Austria, including those from non-EU countries.

Settlement and Residence Act (Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz) - This act governs the residents and settlement of foreign nationals in Austria, including the requirements for residence permits and work permits.


Benefits of Hiring Foreign Workers

You may wonder: why bother hiring foreign workers? Here are the top reasons you should consider.

1. Diversifies the workforce

Foreign workers bring many cultural backgrounds, experiences, and ideas to the table. This diversity allows your staff to be more creative and better at solving problems. It can also reflect the clientele you serve and strengthen your company’s image.

2. Addresses labour shortages

Austria’s booming job market may leave you struggling to find qualified local candidates for certain positions. Hiring foreign workers allows you to tap into a wider talent pool, fill crucial gaps faster, and ensure your business can operate at total capacity.

3. Brings in new skills and perspectives

Foreign workers often possess unique skill sets and expertise gained from their educational background and work experience abroad. They can introduce valuable new knowledge and approaches to your company. They can also communicate in different languages, which can be a significant advantage in today’s globalized market.


Legal Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers

Before welcoming foreign workers to your team, you must understand and comply with Austria’s legal requirements.

• Work permits and visa regulations

Foreign workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will typically need a work permit to work in Austria. One permit they can get is the Red-White-Red Card, which will allow them to stay and work in the country for up to two years. Visa regulations may apply depending on the worker’s nationality and length of stay.

As the employer, provide the documentation and collaborate with the authorities to help your foreign employees secure the right permit and visa.

• Labour market test (if applicable)

Sometimes Austrian law requires conducting a labour market test before hiring a foreign worker. It involves proving that you’ve attempted to recruit a qualified Austrian or EEA citizen for the position.  
The specific requirements for the labour market test can vary, so it’s recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer or relevant authorities first.

• Contractual obligations and conditions

The terms of employment for foreign workers must comply with Austrian employment law. It Includes adhering to the Austrian Employment Act and any relevant industry-specific collective agreements.  
Key aspects to consider include minimum wages, working hours, annual leaves, and termination procedures. To comply with labour laws, you must provide a clear and legally compliant employment contract.

• Health and safety regulations

According to the Safety and Protection of Health at Work Act (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz), you must keep your workplace safe by checking for risks and keeping records. You should match tasks to workers’ abilities and work together with other companies on safety.


The Process of Obtaining Work Permits

A person writing on a clipboard with a pen.

Securing work permits for your foreign employees is a crucial step in the hiring process. Note the step below: 

• Identify the correct permit type

Austria offers various work permits catering to different skill levels and professions. Research the specific requirements based on your employee’s qualifications and job.

As previously mentioned, the Red-White-Red Card is a residence and work permit for third-country nationals wanting to work indefinitely in Austria. It’s most granted to employees who already have an employment contract with an Austrian employer.

The EU Blue Card is for highly skilled third-country nationals with a university degree and an employment contract with a salary of at least 1.5 times the national average income. It also allows them to bring their family to Austria and is usually valid for two years but may be shorter if the employment contract is shorter.

• Gather necessary documentation

This step typically involves the foreign worker’s passport, educational certificates, proof of employment (contract), proof of health insurance, and a completed work permit application form. If required, ensure a certified translator translates into German all documents.

• Submit the application

The application can be submitted either by you at the local residence authority in Austria or by the foreign worker at an Austrian embassy or by a consulate in their home country.

• Await processing

Processing times may vary, but they usually take several weeks. Stay informed and communicate clearly with the authorities throughout the process.


Compliance with Labor Laws

Once you’ve successfully navigated the work permit process and welcomed foreign workers to your team, the next step is following Austrian employment standards. Here are some factors to consider:

• Minimum wage and salary regulations

Austria’s legal minimum wage is €1,500 per month, but it still varies by industry and qualification level. Ensure the salaries you offer meet or exceed this amount. Also, research the relevant regulations for your industry to guarantee compliance.

Working hours and conditions

As per the Working Time Act (Arbeitszeitgesetz), regular working hours should be eight per day or 40 per week (from Monday to Sunday). Exceptions include various adjustments permitted by collective agreements.

In some industries, these agreements shorten the regular weekly working hours to around 38 hours. They may also extend daily working hours to facilitate longer continuous time off, such as a long weekend.

• Social security contributions and benefits

Foreign workers in Austria are usually entitled to social security benefits, with contributions based on income up to €62,640 per year or €5,220 per month. If they don’t qualify for these benefits, they can seek public welfare support from federal, provincial, and municipal authorities.


Benefits of Legal Compliance When Hiring Foreign Workers

Complying with employment laws for foreign workers isn’t just about avoiding penalties; it offers a multitude of benefits for both your company and your employees.

• Legal protections

Following the law protects your business from legal trouble. By adhering to work permit regulations, labour laws, and social security contributions, you minimize the risk of fines, sanctions, or even lawsuits.

• Improved worker relations

Treating all employees fairly, regardless of nationality, builds trust and respect and shapes a positive workplace. In effect, you can increase employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity. Foreign workers who feel valued and secure are more likely to stay and contribute their best work.

• Enhanced reputation

Showing that you treat foreign workers well can make your company look responsible and appealing to potential employees. It can make a big difference when trying to attract the best talent, whether they’re from nearby or overseas.


The Role of Recruitment Agencies

International recruitment often requires a lot of time, human resources, and resources. To save yourself from the trouble, consider partnering with Austrian recruitment agencies. Here’s how they can help:

• Source qualified candidates - Recruitment agencies have access to a broader pool of qualified foreign candidates actively seeking opportunities in Austria.

• Assist with a work permit - They can guide you through the work permit application process, ensuring you have the documentation and complete all steps correctly.

• Officer compliance expertise - Recruitment experts can ensure you comply with all relevant employment laws to hire foreign workers legally.

• Teach cultural understanding – They can bridge cultural gaps during the interview process and help foreign workers integrate smoothly into your team.


Why Choose Staffhouse?

With over 25 years of experience in international recruitment, Staffhouse International Resources fully understands the intricacies of hiring foreign workers in Austria. We prioritize efficiency and compliance with government and ethical standards. 

We assure you of: 

• Up-to-date knowledge - Our team stays current on all Austrian employment laws, work permit regulations, and social security requirements.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Public Services International recognizes.

• Integrity and honesty – This means that we follow strict guidelines and standards to ensure fair treatment and transparency throughout the recruitment process.

• Thorough recruitment process - We provide a comprehensive recruitment plan—from sourcing candidates to processing turnover documents—so you can secure genuinely competent and hardworking employees.


Get Expert Guidance for Hiring Foreign Workers

While hiring foreign workers can positively influence your business, it’s not always easy. You must follow employment laws to ensure your employees acclimate well to the Austrian culture and receive the rights and benefits they deserve.

Don’t fret if it all sounds overwhelming. Partnering with Staffhouse ensures you’re on the right track. Our experts will assist you with work permits and ensure compliance with regulations. We also stay informed about laws and practices, serving as your reliable guide. 

Reach out to Staffhouse today to tap into a diverse and vibrant workforce with confidence. 

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