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Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2022-11/2440 Updated – measures in Austria

Access to the labour market for refugees from Ukraine

Arbeitsmarktzugang für Geflüchtete aus der Ukraine

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 11 March 2022 – 04 March 2024
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Mobilisation of a larger workforce
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 02 June 2022 (updated 19 June 2023)

Background information

Over 64,000 Ukrainians fleeing from the Russian invasion in their country have been registered in Austria by early May. With the activation of Council Directive 2001/55/EC, Ukrainian refugees are granted immediate and collective protection, thus alleviating pressure on national asylum systems. The displaced Ukrainians can enjoy harmonised rights across the EU, including residence, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, and access to education for children. The national legislation on the temporary right of residence came into force on 14 March 2022. On 11 March, criteria for access to the national labour market were defined by a decree of the Federal Ministry of Labour.

Content of measure

All Ukrainians who obtained a right of residence for displaced persons (displaced person's ID or "blue card") can be granted a work permit without any further labour market tests or substitute worker procedures (as is the case for other third country nationals). This work permit can be issued either when the application is submitted by the potential employer or in the case of active placement by the Public Employment Service (AMS).

In the tourism, agriculture and forestry sectors, employment permits for displaced persons can also be issued outside of the seasonal quotas. Due to the regulations in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act, issuing a work permit to temporary agency workers is not permitted.

In principle, it is AMS's responsibility to support all displaced persons with a valid identity card with their integration into the labour market with needs-based support offers, such as German language courses, competence assessments and qualification measures. Furthermore, the AMS needs to actively support the placement of Ukrainians into vacant jobs.

The AMS has set up a website with information on the Austrian labour market for refugees from the Ukraine, in German, English, Russian and Ukrainian languages.

In addition, private initiatives have been launched, regarding jobsearch platforms, e.g. Jobs For Ukraine by an interest group representing the interests of ICT stakeholders.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

21 April 2023

Access to the labour market was further eased in April 2023, in that displaced persons with a specific registration card (“blue card” for displaced persons) now have unrestricted access to the labour market without the need for an employment permit which had to be received by employers before. With the previous regulation, it was not allowed to issue employment permits to temporary work agencies, which is why Ukrainians thus far have been exempt from employment in that sector.

02 February 2023

Access to the labour market was extended by one year, i.e. until 4 March 2024.

Use of measure

As of early May, over 1,700 refugees from Ukraine have found a job in Austria.

By mid-June, around 6,700 work permits had been issued to refugees from Ukraine. A large share of them would do unskilled work and work below their actual level of training, according to the head of the Public Employment Service. In addition to their lack of German language skills, the recognition of previous education and a lack of childcare is the biggest obstacles to integrating Ukrainians into the labour market.

At the same time, around 6,850 Ukrainian nationals were registered as unemployed with the Public Employment Service as of the end of June. Around a third (34%), have completed compulsory schooling, followed by a high proportion of academic degrees (31%); 12% have higher education, 6% have completed an apprenticeship and 3% have finished an intermediate education. The remaining 15% could not be assigned to any level of education due to a lack of sufficient information.

In autumn 2022, around 7,200 Ukrainians were employed and another 7,800 were registered with the PES.

By the end of December 2022, 11,776 employment permits were issued to Ukrainian nationals. Of those, 8,126 were in active employment (5,889 women and 2,237 men). The data also sheds light on which jobs these refugees are holding: cooks and assistants (1,453 persons); other hotel and restaurant jobs (1,312); auxiliary jobs of a general kind (1,138); cleaning personnel (1,104). In other professions, fewer than 500 persons are employed.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Migrants or refugees in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Public employment service
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


Via their representation in the Public Employment Service's administrative board, social partners are involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of the provision of labour market access and all measures following this for Ukrainian refugees.

Views and reactions

Social partners have expressed support.


  • 16 March 2022: Right of residence and access to the labor market for people displaced from Ukraine (
  • 28 June 2022: Many Ukrainians work below educational level (
  • 02 November 2022: AMS board member calls for social assistance for refugees from Ukraine (
  • 14 January 2023: Revealed - these jobs are taboo for Ukraine refugees (
  • 02 February 2023: WKÖ head: Free access to the labour market for Ukrainians is an important first step (


Eurofound (2022), Access to the labour market for refugees from Ukraine, measure AT-2022-11/2440 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.