Residence Permits with Quotas


Which residence permits are subject to quotas?


An amendment to the “Niederlassungsverordnung” (Settlement Regulation) around the start of the year contains an list of the number of residence permits with quotas. It may appear in the Federal Law Gazette at the end of the previous year, or at the start of the current year. Anyone wanting to apply for quota-limited residence permits should seek professional assistance.

Pyramid diagram to show quotas to annual demand for quota-based residence permits for third country nationals.
Demand for quota-based residence permits frequently vastly exceeds annual quotas.


In 2023, the total amount of available residence permits subject to quotas is 5,951 (c.f. 6,020 in 2022). This consists of:

  • 5,130 residence permits for family reunification of third-country nationals;
  • 440 residence permits for so-called “privateers”,
  • 89 residence permits for the mobility case under European law of third-country nationals with a non-Austrian residence permit Long Term Resident -EU
  • 292 Residence permit for the purpose change from the residence title “Settlement permit – relative” to the residence title “Red-White-Red – Card plus”.

The quotas are province-specific and issued on a first come, first served basis at the beginning of the year. Every year has a new quota.

Family Reunification

This is for the purposes of family re-unification of Third Country Nationals. Applicants require a sponsor who already has an Austrian residency permit such as an RWR, Long Term Residence-EU, RWR plus, someone granted asylum, or who has something like a Settlement permit.


The “privateer” category is also referred to as Settlement Permit Gainful Employment Excepted and is the category that is very popular with those wanting to retire to Austria (no working allowed).

The Settlement Permit Gainful Employment Excepted, is the most oversubscribed type of permit, especially in Vienna. Anyone wanting to apply for this should either consider another province in Austria outside of Vienna and/or talk to an expert who may be able to provide specialist advice. You will need to plan this well in advance and be ready to apply as soon as permits numbers are published.

This permit does have minimum income requirements and proof of A1 German language skills is required.

The graph below illustrates the provincial quotas for 2023:

Source: NLV 2023

Long Term Resident EU

Holders of a Long-Term Resident EU permit from another EU country (non-Austrian) and their family members may use their non-Austrian residency permit to help facilitate a move to Austria. The Austrian equivalent of this is the “DaueraufenthaltDaueraufenthalt Daueraufenthalt simply means permanent residence. If you have permanent residence rights, usually from having been legally resident for 5 years, you are eligible for a 10 year residency permit. – EU” residency permit.

The non-Austrian residency permit will help with obtaining one of the following residency permits:

  1. Niederlassungsbewilligung – Settlement permit for self-employed activities only.
  2. Settlement permits without gainful employment.
  3. RWR Residency permit (or EU Blue), provided they fulfil the standard criteria (e.g. Employer).

You will NOT be issued with an Austrian “Daueraufenthalt – EU”, but there may be different rules if you previously held an EU Blue cardRot-Weiss-Rot, Daueraufenthalt EU and Blaue Karte EU Titles The EU Blue Card is issued in the shape of a bank card and is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. If you are the holder of an EU Blue Card, you are entitled to temporary settlement and to employment with a specific employer. It is issued for a validity period of two years. If you held an EU Blue Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed for at least 21 months during the previous 24 months in a job matching your qualification. The Red-White-Red Card  is a combination of residence permit and employment permit. It is valid for two years and entitles you as the holder to settlement and employment with a specific employer. If you change your employer within the first two years, you have to apply for a new Red-White-Red Card. The Red-White-Red Card plus   entitles its holder to settlement and unrestricted employment. If you are the holder of a Red-White-Red Card plus, you may change your employer at any time without having to apply for a new permit. If you held a Red-White-Red Card for two years, you may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus, provided you were employed in accordance with the eligibility requirements for a minimum of 21 months during the previous 24 months. Family members of Red-White-Red Card holders and of holders of an EU Blue Card may apply for a Red-White-Red Card plus right away.   (Ref: NAG § 49)

Change of Permit type

Holders of the ‘settlement permit – relatives’ are able to change permit type to a residence title ‘Red-White-Red – Card plus’. Life partners or extended familyextended family Family members that are not vertically related to you or your spouse/registered partner. eg Your or your partner's children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents. Unmarried couples that are not registered but in a "durable relationship" are "extended family". The Withdrawal Agreement states that Austria must "facilitate entry and residence for that partner under national law". This is obviously more stringent that the WA conditions, so we advise to get your partnership at least registered in Austria before 2021. members of an Austrian national may obtain a ‘Settlement permit – relatives’, although it does not allow them to work. The ‘Red-White-Red – Card plus’ will allow them to work

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