Moving to live in Austria is a dream for many non-EU nationals. Not only is it a place of attractive cultural lifestyle, Alpine nature, excellent education and healthcare, but also a fertile ground for developing international business projects. Austria’s central-European position, supportive State policies, and a history of international trade attract many innovative entrepreneurs – among whom was the protagonist of this Case, Oleg, who staked his family’s future on his entrepreneurial talents and succeeded! Today, him and his family are resettled in Austria with a permanent residence permit by establishing a business.
- Oleg, entrepreneur in the gaming sector
- Maria, his wife, housewife
- Valentin, 7, their son
- Daria, 5, their daughter
The protagonists of this Case are Ukrainian nationals. Oleg is a keen and successful entrepreneur. But the more his business gained momentum, the stronger her was experiencing the constraints to international development posed by his current location. The economic and business culture, and the current policies of his country were making it impossible to grow further, and so he began looking for alternative locations: for himself, his family, and his life’s work.
Already citizens of an Eastern European state, the family wanted to remain on the Continent but move to a more developed country, one of the EU Member States. In particular, having holidayed in Austria many times, they found themselves attracted to its ecological quality, healthy lifestyle, and education possibilities for their children. The idea of establishing a business in this country kept coming back to Oleg. So the desired direction was clear right away.
Looking for a Solution
Austria residence permit for financially independent persons
The most straightforward way for our Clients would have been to request an Austrian residence permit for financially independent persons (with Oleg as the main applicant). The prerequisites were all there:
- The family had sufficient funds for a comfortable life in Austria
- This residence document does not give access to the labour market in Austria, but our protagonists were not planning to enter employment any way
- Oleg’s financial funds were legal and transparent, with confirmed sources
- With this document, Oleg would be able to establish and run his of business in Austria
- The rules of this immigration programme require applicants to reside in Austria at least 183 days per year – and Oleg’s family were indeed planning to relocate to Austria fully
The only issue was that Oleg and Maria took a decision in May of 2016. Participation in this programme is capped to a certain number determined each year and based on quotas that are allocated on the first working day of every calendar year. This means, our Clients would have to wait until January 2017. Which in turn meant that their son, Valentin, wouldn’t be able to start the academic year in a new Austrian school and would risk lagging behind in his education. This was completely unacceptable for our Clients.
Austria residence permit by establishing a business
The second option was suggested by austrian lawyer Red-White-Red Card (i.e. Austrian permanent residence permit) issued to individuals who successfully establish a business in Austria. The programme conditions are quite strict, but manageable for a serious entrepreneur:
- Business Plan that clearly outlines the extent of planned investment (starting from EUR 100,000)
Create new workplaces / preserve existing ones that are threatened
Implement an innovative technology or create an innovative product in Austria
Establish an enterprise of a particular significance for the given region
- The Business Plan is reviewed by an expert commission that decides on the viability and prospective regional significance of the proposed enterprise
- This decision is then communicated to the migration service (the local magistrate or regional administration) and successful applicants receive fixed-term residence permits
- Subsequently, the fixed-term permit may be extended (2+3 years), depending on the successful implementation and profitable functioning of the proposed business. Failing to implement the proposed Business Plan or consistent losses of the company will impede the renewal of the fixed-term residence permit
Since Oleg is a professional entrepreneur, and was planning to run his own business in Austria anyway, this option was also attractive to him. And besides, this route would bypass the quotas and having to wait until next January. But after a few days’ deliberation, he called us to halt the process and asked for more time to think.
A fortnight later, Oleg called us to announce that the ‘financially independent person’ route is out of the question, because it would mean his son misses the start of school. At the same time, the route of establishing his own business in Austria also seemed too risky. No entrepreneur can predict the positive outcome of his or her business with a 100% certainty, and staking the entire family’s future on a tentative Business Plan seemed irresponsible.
In the end, the family decided to move to Bulgaria. Valentin, the elder son, went to an international school there, and Daria joined a private nursery school. Yet after a while, despite private education for their children and the mild climate, the family came back to the idea that they would like to live in a Western, more developed country. For them, the Bulgarian mentality and lifestyle was to similar to that back home, in the Ukraine, and they didn’t feel a considerable improvement from this relocation. Maria once confided in us that for her, living in Bulgaria felt too similar to living back in the Ukraine. So in the end: all the stress of a relocation, and none of the advantages of a better lifestyle. The family felt disappointed and were ready to give Austria another try.
Exactly a year later, once again in May, Oleg’s family decided to apply for the residence permit in Austria. This being late spring, the route of residence permits for financially independent persons was once again not an attractive option. And Oleg was ready to give the business option a try.
In the meantime, Oleg and Maria have already found a property they wanted to buy in Austria. However, the purchase had to be delayed, because the property was available only to EU citizens or individuals with residency rights in Austria. Austrian lawyer suggested to purchase the property via a company registered in the EU. Oleg has planned to run his business here anyway, but in addition to that he got a change to relocate the family and settle the children faster. At the same time the documents to establish limited liability company (GmbH) have been processing.
The process wasn’t immediate. In fact, it took nearly a month: about two weeks to establish a new limited company, and another fortnight to open a business bank account. The delays are due to the deep due diligence on the origin of funds performed by the Austrian banks when working with non-EU individuals.
Finally, the approvals came and Oleg could purchase the property. But to live in this new house, the family still needed to obtain their residence permits. We involved accountant and local legal experts to helped Oleg to draw up a successful business plan that appealed to the Austrian authorities. We gathered all the necessary documents and application has been submitted.
- Two months later, Oleg received his Red-White-Red Card that allows his to stay in Austria and establish a business
- Maria received the so-called Red-White-Red Plus Card, typically issued to the spouses of the Red-White-Red Card holders and, importantly, giving access to the labour market in Austria
- Valentin started at the international school in Vienna, and Daria – at a private kindergarten
- The family moved to their new house in the capital of Vienna and can now enjoy all the considerable benefits of the European lifestyle that they’ve been longing for
On our part, we want to wish Oleg every success in his business, and to his family – happiness, unity and excellent achievements in their new home-country!
If you are also attracted by the prospects and the quality of life in Austria, or another EU Member State – come to us for advice! We will help you weight the risks and evaluate your personal advantages and limitations. Our experts will give you a personalised consultation on obtaining a residence permit or a citizenship of a European country.