Austria to boost immigration to ease labour shortages

19 Jul 2023

Austria will attempt to attract over 15,000 skilled workers from countries outside the EU every year by 2027.

This is according to a statement by Labour Minister Martin Kocher following talks with Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch.

These workers will be brought into the country via the Red-White-Red Card system. This entitles holders to reside and work for an employer or be self-employed.

For the first six months of the year, skilled workers were granted 3,795 Red-White-Red immigration cards, indicating a 47% rise compared to the same time in 2022.

“The reform of the Red-White-Red Card was thus an important first step to facilitate access to the Austrian labour market for qualified personnel,” Kocher stated.

He added that to bolster recruitment of skilled workers from overseas, closer cooperation between the relevant organisations will accelerate procedures, including Red-White-Red Card approval and the recognition of qualifications required overseas, Euractiv reports.

Yet, demand remains high for workers from EU countries not recruited through this system, Kocher stated. As such, the government seeks to expand the Eures European job network, which aims to gradually boost recruitment to hit 2,000 people per year.

Last month, Austria had 118,566 job vacancies, with businesses throughout several sectors reporting serious staff shortages, as per the labour market service (AMS). According to the country’s Social Affairs Ministry, an additional 76,000 more workers will be required in the care sector by 2030.

However, reforms in this sector would have enhanced employment conditions for foreign care workers by permitting them to work whilst studying and restructuring foreign training assessment. This would allow a quicker integration of overseas care workers into the country’s labour market, the Euractiv report adds.

“Now, however, we urgently need to work on the whole employment policy so that people are made to understand: You are welcome!” the Social Affairs Minister stated.