Up & Away: Living and Working in Vienna as a Foreigner

The best companies today have to hire from within the globally mobile workforce, but the relocation process for international employees isn't always so straightforward.

  • Metropole’s online workshop Up & Away provided Vienna’s international community with all the answers they’ve ever had about working and hiring as a foreigner here.
  • Relocation and immigration experts share their insights and give priceless advice.
  • Watch a recording of the event and find helpful resources for your residence status woes.

The Austrian capital is home to more than 340,000 international people from 80 nationalities – a number that is only expected to grow in the coming years. Vienna’s international community makes up a vital part of the city’s population. Their contributions range from their business and industrial savvy to the arts, culture and philanthropic endeavors. Yet, the relocation and immigration processes that allow them to come and stay in Vienna often involve giant amounts of red tape and complex documentation that isn’t designed for non-German speakers. The event Up & Away is committed to changing that.

As the voice of international Vienna, Metropole is committed to shedding light on these issues and helping in any way we can. On April 28, we hosted an online workshop in cooperation with Vienna UP’21 – the mega-event for startups, investors and talents across different industries, curated by the Vienna Business Agency – that gave the audience a chance to ask all their questions on immigration, relocation, founding a business and keeping their visa.

Business Hotspot Vienna

Vienna offers lots of fertile ground to innovative new businesses. Half of all Austrian startups are based here, which has led the city to become a vibrant hotspot for young entrepreneurs. With its Central European location, a high-powered corporate climate and myriad funding opportunities, ambitious minds are gathering from all over the globe to base their business in the world’s most livable city.

Watch the video above to get valuable insights on Vienna as a startup hotspot from Flora Miranda, an Austrian fashion designer, Travis Pittman, CEO and co-founder of Tourradar, and Miglena Hofer, CEO and co-founder of The Collaboratory, a coworking space that supports internationals in Vienna. Find out what they wish they had known before they started up and what advice they have for entrepreneurs-to-be.

Up & Away: Meet the Panelists

Vienna-based professionals gave their expert insights on immigration and relocation at Up & Away

If you plan on moving to Vienna, all roads lead through the MA35, the Municipal Department of Immigration and Citizenship, which has earned a reputation for being difficult to maneuver, especially for people who don’t speak German. Though they have vowed to improve their service, people still shudder at the thought of having to face Vienna’s notorious immigration department.

“When you go to the MA35 by yourself, you’ll have a hard time. Many of the clerks don’t speak English and the forms are very complicated,” says Angelika Brenner-Cecerle, CEO and partner at Recom Relocation and one of the panelists at Up & Away. She specializes in supporting people with the intricate process and has helped countless individuals with their residence permits. One of them Mithun Poojary, a quality assurance specialist at the Vienna-based diabetes management company Mysugr, who also joined our panel of experts. He moved to Vienna from India and enlisted the help of Brenner-Cecerle, who he says made the process incredibly smooth for him. “I only had to go to the MA35 twice, once to file for my visa, and once to pick it up.”

Rounding out the panel was Severina Ditzov, CFO and co-founder of The Collaboratory and a lawyer who dedicates a lot of her time to the NGO Austria for Beginners. With her expertise on legal issues, Ditzov was able to answer specific questions with precise detail and wowing the audience with her vast knowledge and invaluable advice. “If your initial application isn’t accepted, request a written response. Don’t just call and accept the first answer, get multiple opinions,” she advised. For further insights from the event, click on the video below to watch the panel discussion in its entirety.

Missed the Event? Catch Up on Up & Away!

As the interactions in the comments during the event proved, the immigration process can be difficult and frustrating. Vienna often gets the reputation of being unfriendly and unwelcoming, but that’s just one side of the coin. Almost 200 people joined Up & Away live and most of them were quick to engage and offer their support. That, too, is Vienna. If you ever feel discouraged or in need of support, keep in mind that there are people who have been through the process and who are more than happy to help. Below is a list of resources you can turn to for guidance and support.

Austria for Beginners

If you need help with your paperwork, resume or matters regarding the relocation of your family, Severina Ditzov and Miglena Hofer are ready to lend a helping hand – in English, German and Bulgarian.

Recom Relocation

The team at Recom Relocation has an extensive array of expertise and are prepared to support you throughout the entire process. Don’t face the MA35 alone, they know the process inside out!

The Female Factor – Limitless Conference

Women can find support for their businesses in this vibrant and empowering community of peers who are committed to bringing about a new era of leaders. Join their Limitless conference to hear from global industry forces and learn how to make it as a woman in business.

Metropole Community Members

Fellow Metropolitans have your back – and they reached out to let us know that they would like to offer their help. If you need assistance with setting up your business in Vienna, reach out to Zoran Rajkovic from the Vienna Business Agency. He’s happy to walk you through the first steps in a personal Zoom call. If you need an Austrian to lend support while you’re going through the bureaucratic process, Patrick Jaritz from Ariot is looking forward to your email.

The Vienna Survival Guide Series

Whether you’re new to Vienna or want to help a friend get settled, the Vienna Survival Guide Series is what you’ve been looking for. This comprehensive set of information lights a path in the dense forest of Austrian bureaucracy. Get answers to all your questions about health, housing, and education in Vienna, and stay tuned for The Vienna Survival Guide for Tax & Law, available in Fall 2021.

Philipp Rossmann
Philipp Josef Rossmann is Head of Sales and a columnist at METROPOLE who is is known for his loud style, loud shoes and loud cries for coffee. He moved to Vienna in pursuit of a more metropolitan life after finishing a Master's in English and American Studies in Graz, Austria.

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