1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?


    Austria has issued contingency rules that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Specifically, the Austrian Parliament has passed a new act called ‘The Brexit Accompanying Law’ (‘Brexit-Begleitgesetz 2019’), which entered into force on 26 March 2019.

    The core of this act is that Britons residing in Austria should continue to live, study and work in Austria (for newly entering Britons see 2.1 below) under conditions similar to the special provisions applicable to EEA nationals. A special regulation of the act will enable Britons residing in Austria (and their third-country family members in Austria), to obtain a residence permit under the Settlement and Residence Act (‘Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz‘) with free access to the labour market under simplified conditions:

    Britons who have been resident in Austria under EU law for less than five years will be able to apply for a 'Rot-Weiß-Rot – Karte plus' residence permit. Examination of the application will essentially be restricted to checking whether the applicant poses a risk to public order and security.

    Britons and their third-country family members who have been legally resident in Austria for over 5 years will be able to apply for permanent residence permit ('Daueraufenthalt – EU'). Applicants will need to provide proof that they have been legally resident for at least five years and will have to meet the general requirements for the granting of a residence permit under the Settlement and Residence Act.

    The application for these residence permits must be submitted at the latest within six months of the date on which the UK leaves the EU.

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?


    Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-days period.

    However, the European Parliament linked the visa exemption for UK citizens to a corresponding act of the UK guaranteeing the same rights for EU citizens. Therefore, there is a risk that the Parliament’s decision will be revoked, should the UK require a visa for citizens from even one EU member state.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    According to the current status, UK travellers will require a passport which must contain at least two empty pages; the first issue date of the passport must not be more than ten years ago and the passport must be valid for at least three months after the planned date of departure from the Schengen area. A copy of passport’s data sheet (containing the passport picture) is also required.

    Documents regarding the travel itinerary, proof of the duration and the purpose of the stay are also required. For business travel additional documentation may be required:

    • an original invitation signed by the inviting company using company stationery (or a company fax or company mail to the embassy/consulate), setting out the purpose of travel, travel date, name, date of birth and passport number of the invitee;
    • proof of employment issued by the employer, if requested by the authorities.

    Travel, health and accident insurance (limit of liability must be at least EUR 30.000 and include return journey) valid for the Schengen Area.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?   

    Yes. In Austria, foreign employees may only be employed if the employer has obtained a work permit (‘Beschäftigungsbewilligung’), a sending permit (‘Entsendebewilligung’), a notification certificate (‘Anzeigebestätigung’) for the employee, or if the employee is in possession of a work authorisation (‘Arbeitserlaubnis’).

    An exception exists in the following cases:

    • family members of an EU national or a non-EU national who has an authorisation to work in Austria (subject to concrete conditions);
    • managers with special qualifications;
    • lecturers in international educational institutions (concerning scientific, educational, cultural or social matters);
    • media correspondents.

    Depending on the circumstances of the case, the employee may (also) need to apply for a residence permit.

    For Britons who already lived in Austria before Brexit, see question 1 above.

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    Application for a permit by a domestic employer (work permit):

    No, there are no general contingency rules or quotas (there is an exception for seasonal workers such as harvest workers). However, there is another kind of limit on the issuance of work permits: basically, a work permit will only be issued if no domestic or EU citizen or foreign national already in possession of a work permit can be found for the job. Permission has to be granted if the present and presumed future situation of the labour market allows the employment of a foreign national.

    Application for a permit by a foreign employee (work authorisation):

    There is no quota. If the requirements are fulfilled, work authorisation will be granted to the foreign employee.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    Current status:

    • from the date of Brexit in the event of a no-deal Brexit;
    • from 1 January 2021 (for new arrivals) if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 31 January 2020.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    The most common categories are:

    Work permit: grant depends on the current status and the development of the labour market. It is crucial that no domestic or EU citizen or foreign national already in possession of a work permit can be found for the job. A more precise answer to this question cannot be given without additional information on the concrete candidate.

    Work authorisation: If a foreign national plans to stay in Austria for longer than six months and wants to start working here, he or she can apply for a work authorisation provided that he or she has special skills and knowledge. These can include, for example:

    • specially highly qualified applicants (Master’s degree – especially in mathematics, computer sciences, natural sciences or technology, with annual remuneration of at least EUR 41,739 gross)
    • employees for understaffed professions – see the specific regulations on understaffed professions (‘Fachkräfteverordnung’), other key employees with at least a Bachelor’s degree, vocational education or other specific knowledge.

    3.5 If permission to work or stay is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    Work permit: The employer has to apply for a work permit at the competent Austrian Public Employment Service (‘AMS’). The processing or rejection of the application takes up to six weeks. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the employee may also need to apply for a residence permit.

    Work authorisation: The foreign national has to apply for a Red-White-Red Card (including a work authorisation and a residence permit) with the competent Austrian representation (embassy or consulate) in his or her home country or country of residence. The application process usually takes approximately eight weeks.

    3.6 If permission to work and stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for such a permission?

    Work permit (without residence permit):

    • Application: about EUR 14,30 (depending on the concrete circumstances),
    • Grant: about EUR 6,50 (depending on the concrete circumstances),
    • Enclosure fees (a charge for supporting documents submitted with the application): EUR 3,90 per sheet.

    Work authorisation (Red-White-Red Card):

    • Application: EUR 120
    • Grant: EUR 20
    • Costs of personalisation (fingerprints, scan of photograph and signature): EUR 20
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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    After five years of legal stay in Austria (subject to concrete conditions).

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    Currently (in the absence of any specific contingency rules):

    • Establishing residence in Austria and requesting confirmation of registration of the Right of Residence under EU law (‘Anmeldebescheinigung’) as soon as possible. After Brexit, resident Britons should probably continue to live in Austria (see point 1.1);
    • Applying for permanent residence if conditions are met (see point 4.1);
    • Applying for Austrian, EEA or Swiss citizenship if conditions are met, but individuals should consider the overall consequences before doing so (including possibly forfeiture of British citizenship);
    • Preparing documents for family reunification with an EU national, if relevant.
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