Austria

Introduction

Austria is a landlocked country in central Europe.  It is bordered by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  German is the official language, but it should be noted that many Austrians have different Bavarian dialects. 

Austria had one of the earlier and most influential royal dynasties of all time, which led to its being a great power.  In later years it seemed certain that Austria would join with Germany, however the allied powers prevented this after World War I and later Austrian born Adolf Hitler also played a part in its annexation and the self-governing democratic nation known as the Second Republic that we know today was born.

In 1955 Austria declared perpetual neutrality in relation to foreign political affairs.  In spite of this Austria is a member of the United Nations and the European Union.  It is also a founding member of OECD and Interpol.  Austria is also part of the Schengen Agreement.

Being a member of the EU Austria adopted the Euro currency allowing it to decrease its dependence on Germany and enhancing its relations with the rest of Europe and since has consistently ranked in the top twenty richest countries in the world.  Austria has a high standard of living and its capital Vienna constantly ranks internally very well for quality of life indicators.

Its democratic nature and high standard of living make Austria an attractive location for self-employed contractors and freelancers.  Its highly industrialised and labour orientated economy allows for lots of work related opportunities in a variety of fields.  Its close proximity with a large number of influential European countries adds to its appeal.  If you would like to know more about the particulars of contracting in Austria please do not hesitate to contact us.

Registry/Registration

Being part of the European Union means that people from member states can live and work in Austria without the need to obtain a work permit.  If you are not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland then unless you can show that you have the necessary skills to fill certain professional areas where there are shortages then you may encounter difficulties.  Although English is widely spoken, you should also demonstrate linguistic skills in the native language of German. 

Regardless of whether or not you require a visa or a work permit if you intend to stay in Austria then you should still register with the local government office upon arrival.  If you are from one of the various countries that has a treaty with the Schengen area then you can stay for up to ninety days without a visa.  Any longer or if you are not from EU, EEA or Switzerland then you will need a work permit and a residence permit.  You should apply for the visa before entering Austria and will need a variety of documentation including, but not limited to health insurance, details of flights and details of accommodation once in Austria. 

There are several types of work permits in Austria, but for skilled workers then the applicable two would be:-

  • Job Seeker Visa. For very highly qualified workers who score well on the Austrian Government Migration website criteria.
  • Red-White-Red Card. For key and skilled workers, usually in areas which there are labour shortages

Income Tax

If you are resident in Austria for at least six months then you must pay income tax on your worldwide income there.  As you are self-employed it is your responsibility for filing a tax declaration.  If you are in the field of researchers then you might be eligible for certain tax allowances that Austria has in order to attract professionals.

The current income tax rates are:-

Up to €11,000             0%

€11,000 - €18,000       25%

€18,000 - €31,000       35%

€31,000 - €60,000       42%

€60,000 - €90,000       48%

€90,000 - €1,000,000  50%

€1,000,000+                55%

Social Security

As a self-employed freelancer in Austria it is your responsibility to contact the relevant social insurance institution that will be able to guide you with regards to registration and contributions, these institutions are self-governed bodies under public law.  As you are self-employed these contributions will be based on income from professional activity.  Please note that even if you are an independent freelancer if you have a work contract then it is possible that you may be deemed as an employee, if so then your employer should register for social insurance and pay contributions.  To be truly self-employed there are criteria in order to assess your independence from the firm.  If you are at all unclear on this then it is advisable to seek professional advice in relation to this.  As a self-employed person you do not have to pay into all the types of insurance, expenses can also be taken into account that reduce your income and therefore the rates that you pay are quite variable and advice should definitely be taken. 

Employment Rules

Austrian law allows for different types of contracts, specifically you can have short terms contracts with independent contractors and also Quasi-employment contracts which cover newly self-employed and freelancers with business licences.  We have already mentioned that the wording in the contract and your ability to work independently from the firm is an important factor in whether you are classed as self-employed or not.  As a self-employed person you will not be covered by as many of the labour laws governing elements like working hours and wages, but for your information Austria is very employee orientated and working hours shouldn’t excess eight hours in a twenty four hour period, nor forty hours a week.  The annual holiday entitlement is thirty days per annum.  Most employees are entitled to 13th and 14th salary and the taxes on this is lower than that of the normal salary. 

Banks

The official currency of Austria is the Euro and it offers a number of local and multinational banks.  If you are resident in Austria then you should have no issues in opening a bank account, if you are still classed as non-resident then it should be noted that some banks will provide limited services and some none at all.  Residents should only need their passport and proof of residential address.  It should also be noted that although debit cards are issued readily most expats will need to wait three months before they are issued with a credit card.

Austria endorses free trade and therefore its banks are more welcoming to expats than some of its neighbours.  It also has high standards and a variety of actions can now be undertaking online or via your mobile telephone.

Corporate Structures

Contracting in Austria is an inviting, but also daunting prospect.  We offer Austrian self-employed services and Austrian employed payroll services.  We can assist with all aspects of payroll for the employed solution.  We can also assist with all registration and criteria requirements of the self-employed solution.  Our services include, but are not limited to local accounting.  If required we can also offer establishment of your own company and can structure the invoicing to your particular needs.

Chesterfield and Contracting in Austria

Austria’s high ranking quality of life combined with its proximity to a variety of European countries and its embracing attitude towards international skilled workers makes it an attractive choice when considering freelancing abroad. Chesterfield has a vast quantity of experience with contractors and freelancers working abroad and boasts a variety of schemes and solutions in order to make their lives easier. You will be given a dedicated member of staff who is responsible for attending to all your needs, allowing them to be more in tune with you and assist you in every way possible.