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Austria: Legal Frameworks and Policies

Austria has very complex legal regulations to asylum and prerequisites for entering the local job market. At the national level, three federal agencies are responsible for the integration of refugees: BFA (Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum), the ÖIF (Austrian Integration Fund) and the AMS (Public Employment Service). The BFA decides upon the residence status of refugees, the ÖIF deals with general integration measures and basic language courses (A1), while the AMS carries the main responsibility for labour market integration and advanced language courses.

The nine federal states (Länder) in Austria play an important role in the integration of refugees. As the Grundversorgung (provision with basic supplies) or the BMS (needs-based minimum benefit), is subject to state legislation, amounts differ.

Integration into the job market: Asylum seekers are rather restricted to access the Austrian labour market. For the first three months after having been admitted to the asylum procedure, they are not entitled to take up employment. Only after having received formal recognition and residence status, individuals entitled to asylum or to subsidiary protection have full access to the labour market, to all services of the AMS and to other social benefits, like the BMS. See here for more information.

Living and working in Austria  - a brochure by the Austrian Employment Services

Please note that students are generally not entitled to receive the "Bedarfsorientierte Mindestsicherung BMS" (needs-based minimum security).


Admission to a study program:

  • It is important to know that Austrian institutions will compare qualifications to Austrian standards before admitting someone to a study programme
  • Proof of completed secondary level education is necessary;
  • Some study programmes require entrance exams.
  • Admission to a master's degree requires a bachelor's degree or diploma degree from the same academic field.
  • Admission to a doctorate or PhD requires a master’s or diploma degree from the same academic field.
  • Some universities require proficiency in German corresponding to level B2, others corresponding to level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  • For doctoral/PhD studies' candidates, it is decided individually when processing an application whether knowledge of German is required or, whether the course can be completed in English.

More information is available at StudyinAustria.


Other sources of information: