15.000 Red-White-Red Cards Until 2027

15.000 Red-White-Red Cards Until 2027

Austrian Federal Government Working on Comprehensive Skilled Worker Strategy

Important and proven improvements have been achieved by reforming the Red-White-Red Card. Nevertheless, further aspects can be optimized and have significant potential for implementation. To ensure growth and prosperity in Austria in the coming years, the federal government is firmly committed to attracting more highly qualified professionals from Europe and third countries to Austria. This requires a comprehensive and more pronounced skilled worker strategy at the national level. Minister of Labor and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher and Minister of Health and Social Affairs Johannes Rauch met with representatives of all relevant government units and social partners yesterday to explore common goals. They are working together to develop comprehensive skilled worker strategies.

Given the record number of job vacancies in numerous industries and the resulting labor shortage, the influx of qualified workers is essential to maintain competitiveness and fulfill public responsibilities.

“With the reform of the Red-White-Red Card, which came into effect in October 2022, the number of issued cards has increased significantly: by the end of June 2023, 3,795 Red-White-Red Cards were issued since the beginning of the year – a 47 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022. The reform of the Red-White-Red Card was an important first step in facilitating access to the Austrian labor market for qualified personnel,” said Minister of Labor and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher.

“We currently have a shortage of personnel in almost all sectors of the economy. The Austrian population is aging, and the demand for long-term care is increasing. In this sector alone, we expect a need for around 76,000 employees by 2030. While we have launched numerous training initiatives, we cannot ensure adequate care in Austria without qualified immigration from abroad. As part of the care reform, the conditions for employing foreign nursing staff have already been improved. During the recognition process, working as a nursing assistant or nursing specialist is now possible. At the same time, the assessment of the equivalence of foreign qualifications and professional experience has been realigned. This allows nursing staff from third countries to be integrated into the labor market more quickly,” emphasized Minister of Health and Social Affairs Johannes Rauch, adding, “Now we urgently need to work on the entire employment policy to convey the message: You are welcome! It is in everyone’s common interest to proceed in a coordinated manner. Today, we have taken an important first step towards an overarching skilled worker strategy.”

Concrete Quantitative Goals as Part of the Skilled Worker Strategy

“This strategy aims to implement specific, quantitatively defined goals: The number of residence permits issued for qualified labor migration should increase to at least 15,000 per year by 2027. Additionally, the placements through the AMS program EURES from other EU member states with high unemployment should gradually increase to 2,000 per year. Including EURES placements, nearly 32,000 EEA citizens entered the Austrian labor market last year. Maintaining attractiveness for them is another part of the skilled worker strategy,” said Kocher and Rauch.

Through closer cooperation among all relevant organizations, the recruitment of skilled workers from abroad is expected to become more efficient and successful. For example, procedures, such as approving the Red-White-Red Card and recognizing qualifications acquired abroad, should be expedited. “The goal is to design and expand support measures and conditions for companies as well as job seekers from third countries in such a way that Austria becomes one of the most attractive countries for qualified immigration, allowing it not only to maintain but also expand its prosperity,” emphasized the two ministers during yesterday’s meeting./OTS

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