Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Easy Move to Austria — For Some

Vienna in Winter
Photo by Martin Ortner
I'm always amazed at the ways various countries have of importing citizens. For example, Victoria Ferauge (you really should read her blog if you like this one) writes about how to buy your way into both the US and France. As it turns out, Austria also allows this, but in a slightly different manner.

The Austrian government has created the Settlement Permit — Gainful Employment Excepted. The short version: if you have a permanent, provable income and have basic language skills, you can live in Austria. There is a quota on immigrants via this method and you're not allowed to take work in Austria. The main obstacle for most will be the following:
[The applicant must] have a regular monthly income (e.g. Austrian or foreign pensions, profits from enterprises abroad, income from assets, savings or company shares) equalling twice the amount of the standard rates of the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG):
General Social Insurance Act - standard rates for the year 2012

Standard rate Twice the rate
Single €814,82 €1.629,64
Married couples or partnerships €1.221,68 €2.443,36
additionally for each child €125,72 €251,44

In other words, you can't be a remote worker and take this opportunity unless you can still demonstrate a separate, permanent income source.

Having been to Vienna twice, I can tell you that this is a tempting proposition. The people are friendly and the country is lovely. Just try not to run into David Duke while you're in Austria.


  1. For an American expat's views on a slice of life in Vienna I recommend the tumblr-blog "Unschuldig, Weise, Fromm" at

  2. Actually I may be that one odd case this helps. I'm a geezer. According to the numbers you just put up, if I want until I'm 70 to claim my Soc Sec and pension, I could move straight to Paris.

    You realize this is going to put me in a good mood the rest of the week don't you?

    Thanks so much for this website!

    1. Straight to Paris or to somewhere in Austria? :)

      And thank you for your kind words!

  3. Wow, that's a great find, Curtis. The asset level you need to get that income isn't that high, less than a million dollars even for a couple.

    1. It never ceases to amaze me that when I get behind on posts, I make a quick post like this from my backlog thinking "yeah, this is marginal at best", but I still find that it's an area that people want to know about. I don't know my readers nearly as well as I think :)

  4. Curtis, one thing that would made this article more useful is if you indicated if this is a path to Austrian citizenship after residing there for some number of years.

    My impression is that most visa programs to get residence can lead to citizenship, but I've found a few that don't...

    Probably the answer is clear to a self-established expert like you but it's not to use amateurs...

    1. That's a good point. I actually can't find a clear answer to this question. For immigration purposes, the term settlement implies the right to permanently live there, so there's an implication that you could apply for citizenship (it takes 10 years of residence in Austria to apply). I'm pretty sure that still holds true in this case, but I can't prove it.

  5. I love Austria! This is indeed a tempting proposition. Now to find an income stream that will get me there!