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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.7 Cross-border mobility in employment, entrepreneurship and vocational opportunities

Last update: 20 December 2023

Programmes and schemes for cross-border mobility

Austria offers a range of publicly supported programs for young people to gain work, training, and entrepreneurial experience abroad. These programs are largely driven by EU policy and the Austrian government. Ministries and agencies at federal and provincial level, such as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy, the National Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD), the Public Employment Service Austria (AMS), the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and the Rural Youth in Austria (Landjugend Österreich), play a key role in implementing and supporting such mobility programmes.

Furthermore, Austrian educational institutions and youth organizations promote student exchanges and provide information on international mobility programs for young workers through resources such as the Austrian Youth Infos brochure 'Working&Living in Europe' and 'Simply away - stays abroad for young people' (Einfach weg – Auslandsaufenthalte für junge Leute).

At national level, the German website of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour 'Auslandspraktika/Erasmus+' also provides information on student mobility, including FAQs, best practice examples, personal testimonials and references to various cross-border mobility programmes for young people.

The following section presents various cross-border mobility programs funded by the EU and the Austrian government, offering financial support, facilitating work placements and internships, and fostering high-quality mobility experiences for young individuals.

EURES (European Employment Service)

Austria is part of the EURES program, which promotes the free movement of workers in Europe and helps overcome barriers. The Austrian Public Employments Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS) implements the program, providing information on living & working in Austria. Through the EURES Target Mobility Scheme, AMS offers job placement services for individuals and companies (EURES  - Arbeiten in der EU und im EWR), with the program funded by the EU and supported by the Austrian government.

Europass Austria (Europass Österreich)

Austria actively participates in the Europass scheme, supporting youth mobility for work and education. Europass is a free online tool by the EU that helps young individuals plan their education and career paths, showcasing their skills and qualifications acquired in various settings. Supported by Erasmus+, Europass aids in job searching, enhances employer understanding of skills, and assists educational institutions with curriculum content. In Austria, the OeAD serves as the contact point for Europass.

IFA – International Young Workers Exchange (Internationaler Fachkräfteaustausch)

As part of the International Young Workers Exchange Programme, IFA Austria specialises in supporting vocational education and training abroad (Auslandsaufenthalte). It supports around 700 apprentices (Lehrlinge), students (Schüler:innen), trainers and education experts (Ausbilder:innen) each year, with EU and Austrian funding for travel, accommodation and insurance. IFA organises work placements for apprentices, advises individuals from Austria and helps young people from other EU countries to do work placements in Austria. The IFA cooperates with a number of partners, including the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), the Public Employment Service (AMS) and the OeAD within the framework of Erasmus+ programmes.

Erasmus+ programmes

The comprehensive European Union program Erasmus+ provides diverse learning opportunities for young people, such as work placements and vocational training across Europe. The program offers financial assistance, including coverage for travel, accommodation, and living expenses during the mobility period. The OeAD serves as the national agency in Austria, managing and coordinating these Erasmus+ programs.

  • The Erasmus+ VET (Erasmus+ Berufsbildung) programme offers young people the opportunity to participate in vocational education and training across Europe, gaining practical knowledge, skills, language proficiency, and cultural adaptability highly sought after by employers. The programme provides financial support for travel, accommodation, living expenses, and grants for training or work placements. The new generation of Erasmus+ (2021-2027) expands the international dimension, enabling funded stays worldwide and promoting cooperation among vocational training institutions and related organizations through various initiatives.
  • Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (Erasmus für Jungunternehmer), as part of the Erasmus+, enables young aspiring entrepreneurs to collaborate with experienced business owners abroad for one to six months. This exchange helps them gain skills and networks for their own businesses (see  Programme Guide). The European Commission funds the program and covers travel and accommodation costs. Local contact points in Austria, such as the Amadeus Association and the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, facilitate the program.
Internship abroad by the Austrian Federal Economic Chambers (Lehre International der WKO)

The ‘Internship abroad’ programme is an initiative supported by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) that offers young people in Austria the opportunity to participate in work placements abroad. The programme is specifically aimed at apprentices who have completed at least one year of their apprenticeship and are enrolled in a recognised apprenticeship programme in Austria. It provides funding and support for apprentices to gain valuable international work experience for up to six months. Through the programme, apprentices can improve their skills, language knowledge and cultural understanding while broadening their horizons in a professional environment outside of Austria.

Work placements abroad for apprentices by federal provinces (Auslandspraktika für Lehrlinge durch Bundesländer)

Organised by the Vorarlberg Chamber of Commerce (Wirtschaftskammer Vorarlberg) and the Vorarlberg provincial government (Landesregierung Vorarlberg), the Apprentice Internship Programme offers vocational training graduates the opportunity to take part in an internship abroad. Participants under the age of 30 can take part in a group programme or receive financial support for an individually booked language course abroad, with grants of up to €650 for outstanding trainees and up to €500 for good trainees.

Internships with international organisation (Praktika in internationalen Organisationen)

There are several ministries in Austria that work with international organisations, such as the United Nations (UN), to provide internships for young professionals. The Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA), for example, offers internships abroad to those interested in a future career in the Foreign Service. Interns gain first-hand experience at the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations in Geneva (Auslandspraktikum) and learn about multilateral diplomatic work. High school, university and college graduates can apply for two- to three-month internships and receive a monthly training allowance and social insurance coverage through the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK), while covering their own expenses.

Legal framework

Austria does not have a single law that applies to incoming and outgoing young workers, trainees/apprentices and young professionals/entrepreneurs participating in cross-border mobility schemes. However, there are several policies in place, including laws such as the Vocational Training Act (Berufsausbildungsgesetz, BAG), the Youth Employment Act (Kinder- und Jugendlichen-Beschäftigungsgesetz, KJBG) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz, ASchG), which cover different aspects such as apprenticeship, working conditions and worker protection in Austria. In addition, for cross-border employment/training, Austria provides social security coverage, sets entry and residence requirements, issues work permits and implements tax provisions.

Social security

Social security in Austria is well-regulated within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA), with specific regulations outlined in the Regulation (EC) 2004/883 (Verordnung zur sozialen Sicherheit in der EU) and its implementing Regulation 2009/987 (Durchführung der Verordnung zur sozialen Sicherheit). The General Social Security Act (Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz, ASVG) governs social security in Austria for employed persons, including health, accident and pension insurance (Sozialversicherung in Österreich). Young individuals participating in transnational programs are typically insured through their employer or institution, with the European Health Insurance Card (eCard) serving as proof of health insurance within the EU. Additional insurance may be required for accessing European funding programs such as Erasmus+ (Versicherungsschutz im Ausland). The portability of pension rights within the EU allows young people to maintain their entitlements when moving from one country to another.

Incoming EU/EEA citizens have access to Austria's comprehensive social security system, which entitles them to health care and various insurance benefits. They can work in Austria without additional permits and enjoy the portability of their pension rights.

Special rules apply to young workers and trainees from non-EU/EEA countries in Austria, who must obtain a work permit and comply with legal requirements regarding social security, including health care and various insurance benefits.Depending on their employment status and circumstances, they may be entitled to social security benefits such as health, accident, pension and unemployment insurance. provides detailed information on the 'social security and other social benefits in Austria for third-country nationals' (Sozialversicherung und weiteren sozialen Leistungen in Österreich für Drittstaatsangehörige).

Entry and residence requirements

Austria has specific entry and residence requirements for young workers coming from abroad or for persons arriving in Austria. For young workers from EU or EEA countries (EU + Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), the principle of free movement within the European Union allows them to enter and reside in Austria without additional permits. However, they may be subject to registration requirements (Public Employment Service Austria) to ensure compliance with local regulations.

In general, non-EU/EEA nationals are subject to the Employment of Foreigners Act (Ausländerbeschäftigungsgesetz, AuslBG) and must obtain a work permit and meet specific requirements in order to work and reside legally in the country. This usually involves obtaining a combined work and residence permit or an employment permit in addition to their visa or residence permit. The inter-agency platform provides detailed information on 'Employment of third-country nationals in Austria' (Beschäftigung von Drittstaatsangehörigen in Österreich). In addition, there may be exceptions and agreements between Austria and certain countries that facilitate entry without a visa (Visumpflichtige Länder).

Tax arrangements

In Austria, income is taxed based on residence, with the country of domicile or centre of life determining the tax jurisdiction. To avoid double taxation, Austria has double taxation agreements (DTA) with various countries, following the OECD Model Convention. The Austrian Ministry of Finance maintains a list of Austria's double taxation treaties (Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen Österreich, DBA). Incoming and outgoing young workers may benefit from these agreements, which allocate tax jurisdiction and provide exemptions based on specific conditions such as length of stay. Austria also has a tax exemption for income earned abroad up to six months for outgoing workers.