The new government program has it all: on almost 330 pages in their government program for 2020-2024, The New People’s Party and The Greens have written down how they want to shape the future of Austria. Reason enough to check what is planned in immigration law.
Some may still remember that it was fundamentally decided back in 2018 to make urgently needed adjustments to the immigration system for qualified workers from non-EU countries (Red-White-Red Card/RWR Card). Ultimately, these plans were not implemented.
The new government program is finally building on this again.
Important points are:
Upgrading of the Austria Business Agency (already an indispensable point of contact for many expats) to become a one-stop shop for RWR card procedures
there you should get information about the status of applications;
Establishment of a digital platform for the traceability of the procedural steps by applicants and authorities;
Development of a monitoring system for procedure durations;
Simplification of the application
Applications can be submitted with documents in English (instead of only in German up to now);
First steps towards digital application : Initially only online by employers, later also applicants
Shortening of the waiting periods for initial interviews by applicants at Austrian diplomatic missions abroad (start of the application process and visa applications at the same time as the initial interview);
Examination of the applications by the relevant bodies simultaneously rather than sequentially;
Digitization of transmission: forwarding of applications from representation authorities to Austria digitally instead of by post
It is no longer necessary to provide proof of “local accommodation” when applying (thus avoiding the problem that no applicant wants to rent an apartment in Austria if he does not know whether the application will be approved; at the same time, no application will be approved if no rental agreement can be presented);
Revision of salary limits and the points scheme to determine the qualifications of applicants.
The plan is to make it easier to prove that you have the financial means necessary to issue a residence permit
Introduction of “ Trusted Employers ” (proven particularly experienced entrepreneurs): Details are not given; in other EU countries such Trusted Employers are treated preferentially , are kept in their own register and in future do not have to re-enter all of their information every time they apply for work permits for foreigners.
Amendment EU-ICT :
Extensive simplifications are planned for residence permits for intra-corporate transferees (“ICT”) employees
Removal of bureaucratic hurdles and shortening of the application process to a maximum of 1 month
There should be improvements for visits to relatives, scientific exchange or research purposes and cultural projects
Here, too, the use of digitization should make things easier and, in particular, counterfeiting should be stopped
In the future, Austria wants to store the biometric characteristics of strangers, which are obtained through the visa process, for up to 5 years after the stranger has left the country in order to use this data to investigate criminal offenses – of course while maintaining data protection
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All in all, a quite ambitious program that addresses many of the points of criticism that were pointed out by the various stakeholders (especially from business). The long application procedures in particular should obviously be able to be processed more efficiently and quickly through the use of digitization. But one must not forget that it is important how these projects are actually implemented. And that in particular under the first turquoise-green coalition, with which one has entered completely new political territory at the federal level in Austria.