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Working and volunteering


Volunteering is a good way to meet people and get involved with local life, with projects lasting anything from a week to 18 months or more. In Austria, maintaining hiking trails is popular, but other volunteer projects range from joining a performance group on social issues to repairing school fences outside Vienna. Hook up with the networks in your home country and/or, if you speak German, approach an Austrian organisation directly.

Bergwald Projekt Excellent volunteer work programs protecting and maintaining mountain forests in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Generally, the Austrian programs last one week.

Freiwilligenweb (www.freiwilligenweb.at) Official Austrian government portal for volunteer work.

International Voluntary Service Great Britain (www.ivsgb.org) The UK organisation networked with the Service Civil International (SCI).

International Voluntary Service USA (www.sci-ivs.org) The US organisation networked with the SCI.

International Volunteers for Peace (www.ivp.org.au) An Australian organisation networked with the SCI.

Service Civil International (SCI; www.sciint.org) Worldwide organisation with local networks.


  • EU, EEA and Swiss nationals may work in Austria without a work permit or residency permit, though as intending residents they need to register with the police.
  • Non-EU nationals need both a work permit and a residency permit, and will find it pretty hard to get either unless they qualify for a Red-White-Red Card, which is aimed at attracting highly skilled workers. Your employer in Austria must apply for your work permit. You must apply for your residency permit via the Austrian embassy in your home country.
  • Teaching is a popular field for expats; look under ‘Sprachschulen’ in the Gelbe Seiten (yellow pages) for a list of schools. In professions outside of that and barkeeping, you’ll struggle to find employment if you don’t speak German.

Some useful job websites:

Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich (www.ams.or.at) Austria’s Labour Office

Monster (www.monster.at)

StepStone (www.stepstone.at) Directed towards professionals.

Virtual Vienna Net (www.virtualvienna.net) Aimed at expats, with a variety of jobs, including UN listings.

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