How to Stay in Austria After the Graduation

Study in Austria, Work in Austria

You enrolled in a local university, studied hard, finished your degree and now want to continue your stay in Austria? You maybe would like to be employed or start a business.

Here we discuss which opportunities Austria offers for international students and graduates of Austrian universities.

Austria allows international students to work and start a business within the country after they finish their degree. They can extend residence permit for a max. of 12 months in order to find a job. This applies to Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD programs.

Although all will depend on the nationality of graduated students. Austria has different regulations for citizens of EU/EEA counties and non-EU/EEA plus Romania, Bulgaria. Let’s look closely at which possibilities you have.

Who and How Can Work and Start a Business in Austria After Graduation?

EU/EAA members

Graduates from the EU/EEA and Switzerland enjoy free movement of labor since the 1st of May 2011 and may take up any employment in Austria without a permit.

Students from Non-EU/EEA and Croatia

1. Job search after graduation

In Austria, countries which are not part of EU/EEA called “third”. Third country graduates who have successfully finished their degree studies in Austria may after the expiry of their student visa reside for a further twelve months in Austria to search for employment or start a business.

They need to apply for a confirmation by the competent residence authority (MA 35). This document must be applied for before the expiry of the student visa.

The biggest advantage of graduates while requesting a Red White Red Card that they don’t have to go through a labor market test and points system, as normal applicants do. It makes the whole process much easier with a high success rate and less time-consuming.

Graduates from Croatia have freedom of settlement but are not entitled to unlimited labor market access as EU/EEA members. They are eligible to apply for an employment permit without a labor market test.

2. Receiving an employment offer

After third country graduates have found the job they were looking for in these twelve months, they can easily apply for RWR (Red-White-Red) Card. This permit allows you to settle temporarily (for 24 months) in Austria and to work for the employer specified in your application.

After it expires you are eligible to apply for Red White Red Card plus. This permit entitles you as a non-EU/EAA national to fixed-term settlement and unlimited labor market access (as a self-employed or an employed person, not limited to a specific employer). Red White Red Card plus will be valid for one year.

The main requirements you need to fulfil in order to get a residence card and work permit is to find employment matching your qualification, and prove a minimum salary of 2,349 EUR per month. With 3,629 EUR as average salary in Austria, it must be an easy task to do. Check other general Red White Red Card requirements on this website.

Till 2014 graduates from Romania and Bulgaria were not able to work without a permit, fortunately, after Austria has opened unlimited access to the labor market.

Start a Business After Graduation

The process of starting your own business after graduation pretty much the same as to find a job. EU/EAA members won’t need a permit and could start GmbH or self-employment pretty much straight.

Non-EU/EEA citizens and Croatian graduates will face more hurdles. Non-EU/EEA citizens can renew their student visa for a period of twelve months to start a business, but they need to fulfill the general requirements such as:

  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Accommodation
  • Financial proof of  966.65 EUR per month * 12 = 11,600 EUR

It’s going to be mostly the same process, you will need to apply for the Red-White-Red Card. This time you will fall into Self-employed Key Workers and Start-up Founders categories.

Self-employed Key Worker requirements

To be eligible for Red-White-Red Card for Self-employed Key Workers application your self-employed occupation in Austria must create macroeconomic benefit for the country, it could be achieved by falling into these criteria:

  • Your investment capital is minimum of 100.000 EUR or
  • Your business will create new jobs or secure existing jobs in Austria or
  • Your establishment involves the transfer of know-how and the introduction of new technologies or
  • Your business will bring considerable significance for the entire region

Start-up Founder requirements

You can set up a start-up in Austria only if your goal is to establish a company to develop and launch on the market innovative products, services, processing methods or technologies. Additional requirements:

  • You submit a consistent business plan for establishing and running that company
  • You will personally exert a controlling influence on the management of the newly set-up company
  • The company’s capital must be minimum 50.000 EUR, with an equity share of at least 50 %
  • You score a minimum of 50 points according to the following criteria with a maximum of 85 points

You can see a point system here as well as a full list of required documents.

My advice is not to start a business in Austria. I have spoken with many people in this country, who had this idea but changed their minds because of complexity, high expenses and a bunch of bureaucratic work involved in this process. If building the business is your goal, I would suggest looking into Germany, Switzerland, and super easy start-up country Estonia.


Which Countries Allow International Students to Stay and Work after Graduation?


In Australia, international students can apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), which allows them to stay in Australia for 2-4 years after they’ve graduated.

The duration of stay depends on the degree: students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree can stay for two years, a master’s degree for three years, and a doctoral degree for four years.


After graduating from a German university, international students can extend their student visa for up to 18 months. Same as in Austria, this period allows them to find a job that fulfills their qualifications.

After finding the job, graduates are able to apply for the German residence permit or EU Blue Card. These resident permits will be valid for up to 5 years.


International students who study in Canada can apply for the Post Graduation Work Permit, which allows them to stay for up to three years. After they graduate they have six months to apply for this.


Foreign graduates can apply for a program called Optional Practical Training while still staying on their student visas. It allows students to work in the US for 12 to 36 months depending on a student’s area of study.

Where to work after graduation in Austria?

Basically, all jobs which are meeting your qualifications and interests are suitable. If you are EU/EAA citizen there is no restriction in the type of job, it can differ from your skills. For Non-EU/EAA applicants is harder or almost impossible to work in another field, at least the first 24 months. As your work permit will require a match between qualification and job offer.

What are the most common jobs in Austria?

  • marketing assistant
  • business project manager
  • web developer
  • business consultant
  • engineer
  • social workers

What is the average salary in Austria?

Austria is one of the highest-paid counties in Europe. According to the statistics the average salary is 58,171 EUR gross, the minimum monthly wage is 517 EUR and the maximum is 16,910 EUR. The employee receives payment 14 times per year.

  • Engineer – 61, 094 EUR
  • Manager – 79,288 EUR
  • Project Manager – 74,247 EUR
  • IT-Manager – 72,900 EUR

Can I bring my relatives to Austria?

Yes, in case you are self-employed or holder of Red White Red Card/plus, EU Blue Card, settlement permit, settlement permit – special cases of dependent gainful occupation, settlement permit – researchers your family is eligible to apply for Red White Red Card plus. Who can apply:

  • spouses
  • registered partners and
  • unmarried minors including adoptive and step-children

Spouses and registered partners must be 21 years of age or older when applying.

Can I work part-time?

If you are from EU/EAA countries – yes absolutely, there are many part-time job offerings. Non-EU/EAA citizens could not work part-time unless they find a desirable offer with a salary of 2,349 EUR. As it is a requirement for a Red-White-Red Card.

If they decide to reduce the number of working hours after receiving a permit, they may lose eligibility as their salary might no more fulfill requirements.


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