Working Temporarily as a Seasonal Worker in Austria

Working Temporarily as a Seasonal Worker in Austria

The seasonal worker visa is a special work permit and visa program that allows non-EU citizens to come and work as a seasonal worker in Austria in specific sectors. It applies to jobs that are dependent on the season and requires extra workers during peak periods, mainly:

  • Agriculture/Forestry: For example harvesting crops or working in timber forests. Seasonal work permits are issued for up to 6 months.
  • Tourism: For example working at winter resorts or summer vacation destinations. Permits are issued for up to 9 months per 12 month period.

The Austrian government has an official quota system to make sure enough visas are available each year for non-EU seasonal workers while also protecting job opportunities for local workers.

To take part in this program, non-EU citizens must have a concrete job offer from an approved employer for one of these seasonal positions. It offers an organized and legal pathway to come work temporarily in Austria’s critical tourism and agricultural industries.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a seasonal worker visa in Austria, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Non-EU citizen: The program is only open to citizens of countries outside the European Union. EU citizens have separate rights to live and work in Austria.
  • Job offer in select sectors: You must have a concrete job offer for seasonal work in either tourism or agriculture/forestry. Examples include ski resort staff, crop pickers, hospitality roles at summer lakeside resorts, and foresters.
  • Employer applies for permit: It is the responsibility of your future Austrian employer to apply for a work permit on your behalf. There is a quota and approval process based on proving economic need.

Non-EU citizens who have secured a firm seasonal job offer from an Austrian tourism or agricultural company can potentially qualify. The employer takes care of requesting the labour authorization, which is important to understand as the applicant.

Application Process

Obtaining a seasonal work permit and visa in Austria involves both the employer and employee completing important steps:

  1. Employer Applies for Work Permit
  • The Austrian employer must submit an application to the Public Employment Service (AMS) requesting a seasonal work permit allotment from the annual quota.
  • The application must provide details like number of non-EU seasonal workers being requested, their intended roles, duration needed (up to 6 or 9 months), and proof that there are no qualified local workers available.
  • Work permits are granted on a first-come, first-served basis until the sector’s annual quota is filled. Approvals are communicated via official letter.
  1. Employee Applies for Visa
  • Once the employer has secured the official seasonal work permit from AMS, they will inform the prospective foreign employee.
  • The non-EU employee then applies at their closest Austrian embassy/consulate for either a Category C (up to 90 days) or Category D (over 90 days) visa, depending on the permit duration.
  • Required visa documents: Valid passport, visa application form, work permit letter, proof of lodging arrangements made by employer, health insurance, and often a criminal background check.
  • The visa approval process can take up to 90 days once submitted as applications undergo scrutiny.

This is a dual-step application process between employer and employee to secure both the work permit and appropriate visa for the duration of seasonal employment.

Validity and Duration

Initial seasonal worker visas are issued for time periods tied to the associated work permit:

  • Up to 6 months: The standard duration for initial visas in both the agriculture/forestry and tourism sectors. Matches the normal length of a seasonal work permit.
  • Up to 9 months: In the tourism industry only, visas may be granted for longer durations during the first year if the attached work permit has corresponding dates. This accommodates longer tourist seasons in certain regions.
  • During a 12-month period that runs calendar year, a non-EU citizen can hold one or more seasonal visas but they may not exceed 9 cumulative months of stay in Austria under this program.

Extensions and Renewals:

  • If the work permit is renewed by the employer, the existing visa can be extended to match by applying at the Provincial Police Directorate while still in Austria.
  • For recurring multi-year seasonal workers, it is possible get a new visa each season based on an updated work permit approval.

Rights and Perks

Seasonal workers in Austria receive a few key protections and benefits:

Accommodations Provided

  • By law, the employer must arrange adequate and affordable lodging for the full duration of the worker’s stay, covering meals or cooking facilities. This takes care of a major necessity.

Wage and Labor Standards

  • Seasonal workers are entitled to the legal minimum wage and overtime pay rules per Austrian labor regulations. This matches local employees in equivalent roles.
  • Additional worker protections related to maximum hours, daily rest periods, paid vacation, and termination notice apply per industry standards.

Seasonal workers can expect employer-provided lodging, equivalent pay to locals based on skill level, and standard labor rights regarding workplace conditions and treatment. The government aims to facilitate temporary economic migration while preventing exploitation.

Limitations

While the seasonal worker program does authorize legal temporary employment in Austria, there are some key limitations to note as well:

  • No path to permanent residence or family reunification. The visa does not create options to settle long-term or bring over family.
  • Strictly limited to seasonal agriculture and tourism jobs. Workers may not change industries and can only stay for a defined term.

The Austrian seasonal worker visa provides a structured way for non-EU citizens to come work legally on a temporary basis in ski resorts, hotels, farms, vineyards and other tourism/agricultural jobs needing extra labor during peak seasons. Workers can return in subsequent years provided updated work permits are obtained in advance.

It offers income and cultural exchange opportunities for non-EU citizens who meet visa criteria and have an eligible job offer in hand. But does not allow permanency or switches in employment sector longer term due to Austrian policy priorities.

Be sure to work with reputable employers participating officially in the program, and consult both them and embassy officials to ensure a complete understanding of the temporary conditions and limitations before travelling to Austria.

Comments

  • Dear Sir Madam Greetings from Nepal!!
    I’m looking for opportunities in the field of architecture so please grant me if there is any vacant.

    Thank you for looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    With best regards
    Nabin Sarki

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