Friday, December 24, 2010

New Austrian Immigrant Visa

Red-white-red card for qualified immigrants

Austria revised its immigration policy by introducing a new admission system for immigrants. After entry into force of the new red-white-red card (RWR card) in July 2011, the inflow of citizens from non-EU Member States will be subject to specific criteria, while immigration quotas will be abolished.
The "rigid quota system" not taking into account the job qualifications of immigrants will be "replaced by a criteria-driven system", explained Minister of the Interior Maria Fekter, who presented the planned new rules on 9 December 2010 together with Minister for Economic Affairs Reinhold Mitterlehner and Social Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer.
The RWR card is granted on a points-based system. RWR card holders gain the right of abode(also known as permanent residence) and labour market access(Permission to lawfully seek and engage in paid employment or establish a small business).
The Criteria:
 Criteria that have to be met to achieve a specific number of points are occupational qualifications, education, language skills, age, etc. If these criteria are satisfied, immigrants are allowed to settle down and work in Austria. The previous quota system is no longer applied, and the entire system of residence is restructured in accordance with the new rules.
Three groups may apply for RWR cards:
1.Highly Qualified Migrants (e.g. management, medicine, IT),
2.Qualified Migrants in scarce occupations (nurses, milling cutters, tinsmiths – the respective "scarce occupations" are defined according to demand) as well as
3.Labour/Average Qualification
In addition, a "RWR card plus" will be introduced. It will grant unrestricted labour market access and offer prospects for permanent residence. The card will be issued for family members (e.g. of skilled workers), in cases of residence for humanitarian reasons and for people with residence permits. It may also be claimed by persons previously holding RWR cards and "EU Blue Cards".
Top professionals and specialised workforce immigrating to Austria on the basis of the RWR-card system are not required to have a knowledge of German before their arrival. Different rules will apply to family members of immigrants: dependants of top professionals of the first pillar (highly qualified university graduates) do not have to speak German before coming to Austria. Family members of the second (scarce occupations/top qualifications) and third pillar (other key labour/average qualification) must have at least basic German language skills. Procedures to extend residence are facilitated for persons learning the language during their stay in Austria.