Austria to facilitate labor market access for third-country nationals –

Faced with a serious shortage of skilled workers, Austria will facilitate access to the labor market for third-country nationals by revamping the so-called “red-white-red card” residence system.

Vienna has historically been more averse to migration than some of its EU counterparts, in part due to the far-right party’s continued strong presence in the country and the decades-long stint of the conservative ÖVP in government. . But he must now relax the rules of access to the labor market for non-EU citizens.

“We are currently seeing a record number of vacancies at AMS [labour market service]and many companies are currently looking for skilled workers,” said Minister of Labor and Economy Martin Kocher.

“Furthermore, changing demographics will further aggravate the shortage of skilled labor in the years to come,” he added.

The reform was passed by the social committee of the Austrian parliament with the votes of the conservatives in the government and the Greens and the liberal NEOS in the opposition.

Admission criteria regarding minimum wage and language skills will be relaxed. In addition, regular seasonal workers must now have permanent access to the labor market and the authorization procedure must be accelerated.

The Social Democrat SPÖ, traditionally seen as a defender of workers’ rights, condemned the reform of the labor market access regime. The reform is “complete prostration before the private sector”, said SPÖ member Verena Nußbaum.

International companies will benefit, as the program has so far been tied to excellent German language skills. Now, English skills can be substituted, provided the company hires a third-country national to work in English.

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