Gainful employment in the EU

Current information on gainful employment or self-employment, the right to equal treatment in relation to gainful employment, etc.

As an EU citizen, you are entitled to work – for an employer or as a self-employed person – in any country of the European Union.

Gainful employment

This right is a fundamental element of European Union citizenship and covers:

  • the right to seek work locally in another Member State,
  • the right to work in another Member State,
  • the right to reside there for that purpose,
  • the right to equal treatment in respect of access to employment, working conditions and all other advantages which could help to facilitate the worker’s integration in the host Member State.

EEA citizens do not require a separate permit to start work in the European Economic Area.

Information on the right to settle under EU law can be found in the section "Residence in Austria". 

If you are unable to find the information that you need on the ‘Your Europe’ portal (‘Working Abroad’ section), you can put your question to Europe Direct using the free telephone number 00800/67 89 10 11 or online to the Citizens Signpost Service. The experts of the Citizens Signpost Service answer questions in connection with mobility in the European internal market free of charge within 1 week.

Gainful self-employment

In order to engage in gainful self-employment, you must meet the conditions and qualification requirements applicable under national law. EU citizens of the new EU Member States are also entitled to engage in gainful self-employment. This is not subject to any specific transitional arrangements.

Further information on "Austrians abroad" can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at. Detailed information on "foreign workers"German text and "establishment of a company"German text can be found at USP.gv.at.

Right to equal treatment in respect of gainful employment

Any EU citizen has the right to take up gainful employment in another Member State under the same conditions as apply to its own nationals. There cannot be a requirement for a work permit. There is an exception for language skills. A certain level of proficiency may be required for a job if language skills are needed for the activity concerned.
Equal treatment applies not only to general working conditions (such as pay or dismissal), but also to training.

Detailed information on ‘"Working in the EU" can also be found at oesterreich.gv.at

Current information on gainful employment or self-employment, the right to equal treatment in relation to gainful employment, etc. 

Further Links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 31 March 2021

Responsible for the content: oesterreich.gv.at Editorial Staff