Jobs - Work possibilities for international students

Exemplary jobs in the field of Information Technology

Research Engineer for Mobile Communication Systems
  • Developing new techniques and algorithm for the transmission of measurement data among environmental sensors
  • Testing methods of prototypical implementations
  • Project management within an international project in cooperation with associates from sensor systems, information technology and biology.
System Architect for Transportation System Control
  • Development and testing of algorithm for analysis of toll collection data for real-time traffic data acquisition.
  • Coordination and design of systems for traffic manipulation.
  • Cooperation with project teams of the departments Traffic Infrastructure and Traffic Headquarter.
Development engineer for medical electronics
  • Responsible for specification, development and implementation of analog and digital circuits for CAT scanners.
  • Cooperation with project teams from mechatronic and software developments department.

Working during your studies

Following information is taken from Studying_in_Austria_Web_feb2011.pdf.

It is highly important to note that it is not permitted to finance studies mainly through wage labour. According to law, work must not serve to cover the "predominant" part of livelihood.

Work possibilities for international students

There are many reasons to look for work: (needed) additional income, proof of required means of livelihood, acquisition of professional experience, desire to be (financially) independent. However, most nonAustrian students face legal barriers - not everything that is possible is also permitted.

This chapter aims to point out the framework conditions. While numerous detailed questions cannot be answered in a general manner, there are information and counselling options, which are listed at the end.

Various regulations

Adherence to social- and labour regulations should serve as self-evident protection during and also following employment. However, this is not sufficient for taking up employment-national insurances rarely check whether, in fact, the regulations of the Foreigners' Employment Act (AuslBg) are adhered to: in the best case, while extending a student's residence permit, the authority in charge may point to the problem (and will then proceed to reject such income toward proof of livelihood); in the worst case, an agency under the control of the Federal ministry of Finance may file a complaint after visiting the workplace.

In case of self-employment, trade law regulations must be observed: while the number of trades with required proof of qualifi cation (gebunden) is decreasing, so-called "free" trades still need a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) as well.

There are exceptions for the so-called "new self-employed," who are sometimes diffi cult to classify. the most comprehensive information is provided by the regional chambers of labour.

In case of complaints due to illegal work: by all means, get competent counselling on the procedures of the aliens' police!

The authorities' suspicions will not necessarily be confirmed in every instance: while momentary help might be explained as "service of friendship" in individual cases, repeated activity that requires national insurance application will not. And: lack of information is no excuse.

Who is allowed to do what?

Austrian citizens and equivalents: Eu-15 citizens (member states before enlargement in 2004) may take up any work as long as labour- and trade regulations are adhered to.

Citizens of the central-eastern European EU member states: Citizens of the new Eu member states may carry out any self-employed work. However, regarding most employed work, they are, like non-Eu citizens, subject to the Foreigners' Employment Act (AuslBg).

Exceptions exist only for:

  • Jobs generally exempted from the AuslBg (to name a few: artists, journalists, researchers, teaching staff at certain schools)
  • Caretaker, if the cared for person is at least on care level 3
  • Persons who have been admitted to the labour market for at least one year (with employment licence)
  • Relatives of licensed workers

Expiration of these limitations for states of the 2004 enlargement round is expected for January 2011.

These limitations do not exist for self-employed work and issuance of a trade licence must not be rendered overly difficult.

Citizens of third countries: Students from so-called third countries need a work permit for all salaried jobs that are subject to the AuslBg. Access to trade licences may be more difficult, usually this is a matter of reciprocity, that is, applicants must submit the same documents that are required of Austrian citizens in their country of origin.

The employer must apply for a work permit at the Public Employment Service Austria (AmS). It is valid for one workplace and must be extended every year.


This comprises all supervised wage-earning activities at preset working hours. All persons subject to the Foreigners' Employment Act (AuslBg) need a special permit.

Categories of work permits:
  • Employment permit (must be applied for by the employer, valid only for the employer's company), valid for up to one year
  • Employment licence: after one year of employment, valid for a specific federal province (Bundesland)
  • Unrestricted work permit (Befreiungsschein): after five years, valid for all federal provinces of Austria

According to the body of regulations regarding aliens (Fremdenrechtspaket 2005), a settlement permit, unavailable to students, is required to obtain work permit and unrestricted work permit. Existing work permits and unrestricted work permits are valid until expiration, without any possibility of extension. After their expiration, only employment permits can be issued.

Employment permits must be applied for by the employer with the AMS;
they are subject to a quota for non-Austrian employees.
Result: applications are very frequently declined. Quota overrun is dealt with by a committee representing employers and labour; abilities that are rare or non-existent in the Austrian labour market, e.g., knowledge of languages or specific study-based abilities, will score points; however, a relation to the intended activity should exist.

A probably not entirely correctly applied Eu guideline, which guarantees labour market access to students for at least 10 hours per week, has led to the practice that employment permits are almost exclusively issued for minor jobs (not more than EuR 340 per month).

So-called "seasonal licences" (for certain jobs such as in gastronomy), which can be granted for a maximum of six months, can be issued to students for no more than three months.

It is possible that licences will not be extended due to permanent quota overrun. The job has to be terminated respecting the notice period-in such cases one or another week can be added, provided the employer is cooperative.

Any denial of permits can be challenged at one of the AmS federal province offi ces; this, however, has to be done by the employer- employees are not allowed to be part of the employment permit granting procedure.