How To Get a Job in Austria Without Speaking German?

Jan 1, 2020Get Started, Work in Austria

Austria ranked in 12th place in the World Happiness Report 2018, where almost nine million population enjoyed a high standard of living due to its low unemployment rates and thriving economy.

Would you like to find a job in Austria and eventually move? Your German skills are equivalent to zero or maybe not good enough for a professional level? Spectacular mountains and lakes offer great weekend getaways.

Austria is a modern country with many international companies and 1.675 million individuals coming from other countries. You can, without a doubt, find a job without speaking German. If you aim to work in pharma, banking, tourism, IT industries, lack of German won’t be a problem in most cases.

Typical jobs and sectors with demand for English-speaking workers are:

  • Lecturer at university for English majors
  • Schoolteacher for English majors
  • English Tutoring
  • Employment in International companies, where English is a company language
  • IT, Software developer
  • Tourism
  • Marketing – analytics, social media marketing, data, SEO, and advanced programs

It is possible to find a job in Austria without speaking their language, as the country has a large labor market, low unemployment rate (4.9%), good international connections, and branches worldwide.

In fact, Austria has the 12th largest economy in the world. But you need to take into account a few other nuances and obstacles you might be facing. We will speak about it later on.

English-speaking jobs in Austria tend to be more specialized and competitive. If you are a native English speaker you will have better chances to get a good job. Non-native speakers experience job search to be less successful and more time-consuming.

What’s it like to work in Austria?

“Vienna is one of my favorite cities.”

As one of the wealthiest countries in the European Union, Austria is a popular place for expats to live and work. Vienna, in particular, is well-connected with a high level of average salary and exceptional opportunities to enjoy culture, nightlife, and history.

Austria’s job market relies heavily on industries, such as building and construction, tourism, motor vehicle production, electronics, food, and transportation. 

Working days in Austria will be familiar to most Westerners—people tend to work Monday to Friday and have Saturdays and Sundays for leisure time. You can expect to work an eight-hour day and a 40 hour week (most common 38,5 hours).

You’ll be entitled to a generous five weeks of leave per year, increasing to six weeks after 25 years’ service. This is in addition to the country’s 13 annual paid public holidays. As a reward, you will receive 14 annual salary payments per year.

Visa and Work permit for Austria

To be able to work in Austria you might need to apply for a visa, depending on your country of origin. As an EU or EEA citizen, entering Austria and looking for employment is relatively simple – you don’t need a visa.

That being said, you’ll face restrictions if you’re coming from Croatia. For this country, Austria has special regulations:

For Croatia citizens: you might not need a visa to enter Austria, but if you intend to stay for more than three months you’ll need to apply for permanent residency within four months of your arrival, which you’ll do through your local resident registration office. For the application, you’ll supply evidence of your ability to financially support yourself for the duration of your stay.  

If you’re not an EU or EEA citizen, you’ll need a visa to enter Austria and find work. There are a number of different visas available for various purposes – these include:

The EU Blue card

The main requirement for this type of residence is a university degree with a duration of at least three years. EU Blue card entitles non-EU citizens to live and work in Austria for two years or less.

To be able to apply for this you need a confirmed job offer beforehand, the card will only be granted if the AMS (the Austrian Labor Market Service) is acknowledged that no Austrian or EU citizen is available to do the work specified in the contract.

The qualifications of applicants must match the job profile, and the salary specified in the work contract must be 1.5 times higher than the average yearly income of full-time employees in Austria.

The Red-White-Red card

Non-EU citizens who qualify as “key workers” can apply for a Red-White-Red Card, which allows them to work at a specified employer and live in Austria for 2 years.

In order to qualify as a key worker, you must be especially high qualified, a skilled worker in a shortage occupation, a self-employed key worker, or a graduate of an Austrian university.

The Red-White-Red Card is a points-based immigration system. Depending on which of the above categories you belong to, you must fulfill specific criteria before you can apply. Compare to the EU Blue Card university degree is not required for all groups but only for “very highly qualified workers”.

They will need to possess at least 4 years long bachelor degree in MINT or Ph.D.

After ten months of working and living in Austria, Red-White-Red Card holders may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, which entitles them to free access to the Austrian labor market.

Family members of Red-White-Red or of Blue Cardholders are also eligible to apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus.

The Job seeker visa

Similar to two other permits types you must fulfill certain criteria before you can apply. This visa allows highly-qualified non-EU citizens to look for work in Austria for a period of six months.

In order to qualify for the Jobseeker visa, you need to score a minimum of 70 points out of a maximum of 100 points in the points-based immigration system.

Points are awarded based on your age, qualification, relevant work experience, English language level,e and studies in Austria.

After receiving an offer letter from an employer, you can convert the visa to a Red-White-Red (RWR) card issued for 2 years.

Income Tax Calculation

Unfortunately, many European countries famous for high taxes, Austria is not an exception. In the table below, you can see personal income tax rates.

Income (EUR) Tax Rate (%)
11.000 and below0
11,001 to 18,00025
18,001 to 31,00035
31,001 to 60,00042
60,001 to 90,00048
90,001 to 1,000,00050
above 1,000,00055

Social Security Tax

Austrian social security tax is an element in employment taxation. It comprises health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance and accident insurance. These figures are determined as a percentage of total monthly earnings. The tax is partially paid for by the employee and partially by the employer.

The maximum contribution per month is €4,980. Special payments, which are those payments that do not take place monthly, such as a bonus, are also liable for social security tax. For these compensations, the taxation is limited to €9,960 a year. The amount of social tax you can see in the table below.

Type of insurancePaid by employerPaid by employeeTotal
Pension Insurance12.55%10.25%22.80%
Accident Insurance1.30%0.00%1.30%
Health Insurance3.78%3.87%7.65%
Unemployment Insurance3.00%3.00%6.00%
Others0.85%1.00%1.85%
Total21.48%18.12%39.60%
Severance Fund1.53%00.00%1.53%

Related questions

How many foreigners are living in Austria?

Currently, 1.675 million people born in a foreign country living in Austria. Many Americans, Australians, Canadians, and British people are living in Vienna. In fact, there is a whole community of non-German-speakers in Vienna.

Do Austrians speak English?

Yes, and not really. The average Austrian is very eager to try speaking a foreign language – be it English or another language. In big cities, many people can speak English well or at least say a few sentences. In smaller towns and villages it could be not easy, as people there tend to be older and most of the time very traditional.

Will I need eventually to learn German?

Can you live in Austria and never learn German? Yes, you can. Will it be frustrating? Hell Yesss!!!

Living in Austria without learning German it’s not unpleasant, but it is limited experience in comparison. Usually, you can sort of get by, but you need to understand that you are missing a huge part of the experience.

In urban Austria, not just Vienna, you can actually live without German. But if you decide to move to a “rural” Austria you can get in trouble.

Austria is not the same as the Netherlands or Scandinavic countries, where everyone young and old can speak good English.

If you only speak English, outside tourist zones you will always be viewed as some kind of colonial power forcing everyone to speak badly learned school English and turning even trivial social events, like a short chat at the bakery, into an embarrassing situation for everyone involved.

Learn German is essential to integrate yourself, not disappoint, and be disappointed entirely. It will help you better understand the local culture and history.

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