Working in Austria - Information for students from third countries

You must have a work permit for all work performed as an employed person. Your employer has to apply for this at the job market service (AMS).

Students from non-EU countries can gather experience while they study and can work as follows:

Up to 10 hours per week during the first part of their studies in a diploma or bachelors degree program,

Up to 20 hours per week starting from the second part of their studies in a diploma or masters degree program

A labor market test will not be conducted before issuing a work permit .This removes a significant hurdle in acquiring a work permit. The work permit is only valid for this specific job with this specific employer. If the desired position is for more than 10 or 20 hours per week, a labor market test will be conducted. After you have successfully completed your studies, you can apply for the “Rot – Weiss – Rot – Karte”.

Service contract (employment)

  • Freelance contract (Freier Dienstvertrag)A freelance contract means that there is no or very little “personal dependence “upon the employer. This means that you are neither bound to certain working hours or a specific workplace, nor to orders from your employer. But you are also not covered by all labor law provisions, such as a minimum of five weeks vacation or sick pay during illness. The freelance contract does not bind your employer to minimum wage or a collective agreement that you can refer to if you consider the payment too low. Furthermore, you have to pay your own income tax.

  • Real service contract (Echter Dienstvertrag)A real service contract is when you personally have to provide your services and cannot use a substitute of your choice. As an employee you are subject to your employer´s orders, bound to working hours, workplace, and their company. You are fully covered by the labor law and have a right to vacation, sick pay during illness, and minimum wage based on the collective agreement (incl. special payments).Wage tax and social insurance are paid by your employer.


  • Contract for work and labor (Werkvertrag)

    A work permit is also not required to work under a contract for work and labor. Unlike employment, this contract is for performing a task in the form of a finite project. As an independent contractor, you are not bound to set working hours or to client´s organization. You can choose where you work. As an independent contractor you may be also be responsible for registering for social security and paying taxes, such as VAT and income tax.

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