Moving to Austria

Austria is an EU state with a high standard of living and a range of expat jobs to choose from, making it an ideal expat destination. Further solidifying its appeal is the friendly and welcoming attitude that Austrians have toward expats.

Expatriates moving to Austria will find an intriguing mix of historical villages and modern cities. The Republic of Austria is one of the richest countries in Europe and shares borders with Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Slovenia, Italy, Slovakia and Hungary. With origins in the Celtic Kingdom and the Roman Empire, the Austria of today is at the forefront of political thought and international relations.

Austria’s capital, Vienna, is home to a quarter of the country’s population. Along with Vancouver in Canada, Vienna has been ranked first by the Economic Intelligence Unit and Mercer for quality of life. These ideal conditions, and its location at the heart of Europe, have ensured Vienna is a regular host city for international conferences and planning sessions relating to all aspects of life from academic issues through to urban planning. Jobs in project management, engineering, research, finance and logistics as well as language fields such as English teaching and translation services, are relatively open to expat interest. Tourism is a growing industry in Austria and expats looking for jobs in this field are sure to be successful.

Austria is renowned for its efficient and well-maintained public transport facilities. Trains are the easiest means of travel between cities, while buses connect many of the smaller towns to the main rail network. This integrated transport system is the easiest way to get around Austria and ensures that expats have access to easy and affordable travel. Motor vehicles are also popular and Austria’s road network is extensive, connecting the country to all of its neighbours. High-speed motorways (Autobahn) are also easily accessible.

Healthcare in Austria is of the standard that most Western expats are familiar with. The system is funded by a number of compulsory public insurance schemes and it covers the entire population. Most of Austria’s well-equipped hospitals are owned by the government, and although there are some private hospitals and facilities available, they are typically used for elective surgery rather than life-threatening conditions. Expats that are EU citizens can get access to treatment provided that they have a European Health Insurance Card while those from outside the EU should arrange for temporary health insurance until they are officially registered and covered by the Austrian public health system.

Austria may be relatively small and landlocked but it is the heart of Europe. With impressive Baroque architecture, awe-inspiring churches and captivating cultural events, Austria will easily nestle its way into the hearts of many expats who choose to make it their home. While charming, Austria also holds its own in the commercial and industrial sectors, and expats should be prepared to work hard while not forgetting to enjoy the many splendours this country has on offer.


Fast facts

Population: About 8.5 million

Capital city: Vienna (also largest city)

Other major cities: Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck

Neighbouring countries: Austria is a landlocked country which shares borders with Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west; Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia to the north; Hungary to the east and Slovenia and Italy to the south.  

Geography: Austria is a predominantly mountainous country with the Alps running across the country. The River Danube, with its source in Germany, flows through Austria.

Political system: Federal parliamentary republic

Major religions: Catholicism

Main languages: German is the official language of Austria but English is spoken in the major cities.

Money: The Euro (EUR) is divided into 100 cents. Banking systems are sophisticated, ATMs are readily available and credit cards are accepted in most places. 

Tipping: A service charge of 5 to 10 percent is expected at restaurants. Taxi drivers should be tipped as well. 

Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last week of March to the last week of October)

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Round European 2-prong plugs as well as Schuko plugs with side grounding contacts are used.

Internet domain: .at

International dialling code: +43

Emergency contacts: 112, the universal emergency number in Europe, is used in Austria. Emergency services in Austria are excellent and respond quickly. Most medical staff speak English. 

Transport and driving: Like most of Europe, Austrians drive on the right-hand side of the road. The standard of road infrastructure in Austria is excellent but new arrivals may need to adjust to driving in winter when snow can make mountain passes difficult to navigate. Public transport throughout Austria is also very good, so those without a car shouldn't struggle.