Asylum seekers have limited access to the labour market. Without work permit they are e.g. not allowed to recieve compensation. matches:

  • Traineeships / Volunteering positions More information
  • Apprenticeships (until the age of 25 years with work permit) More information
  • Seasonal work (with work permit) More information
  • Easy tasks realted to their housing and charitable work for the governmelnt ("Bund"), the state ("Land") & communities ("Gemeinden")

Who are "asylum seekers"?

Asylum seekers = people in a pending asylum procedure.

Asylum seekers recieve a „white card“, that proves their procedure is pending.

Recognized refugees and people granted subsidiary protection have free access to the labour market. They do not face any restrictions just like Austrian or EU citizens. matches:

  • Internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • other employment relationships (e.g. paid jobs)

Who are "recognized refugees"?

Recognized refugees are people whos request for asylum has been granted („refugees in the sense of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees by the UN“).

Recognized refugees recieve : "Anerkennungsbescheid" or "Anerkennungserkenntnis", convetion passport ("Konventionsreisepass") and/or an Identity card for foreigners ("Identitätskarte für Fremde")

Who are "people granted subsidiary protection"?

People granted subsidiary protection are people who are not recognized as refugees (in the sense of the Refugee Convetion), but are in need of protection due to other reasons (e.g. torture, civil war).

People granted subsidiary protection recieven: a "grey card", "Anerkennungsbescheid" or "Anerkennungserkenntnis", passport for foreigners ("Fremdenpass") and/or identity card for foreigners ("Identitätskarte")

Conditions for a traineeship / a volunteering positions:

  • Limitation on 3 months per year
  • Eductional character (No normal working relationship)
  • No compensation of any kind
  • Notification to the AMS 2 weeks in advance

Asylum seekers are allowed to do traineeships / volunteering positions in companies or NGOs after 3 months of the beginning of their asylum procedure (issue date of the white card).

3 month rule

Volunteering positions cannot last longer than 3 months per employer per year.


Educational character:

  • No or hardly minor or simple tasks ("bloße Hilfs- oder einfache angelernte Tätigkeiten") or work on construction sides.
  • No obligation to work.
  • No fixed integration into the organisational structure (e.g. no obligatory working hours)
  • No tasks that (entirely or in parts) replaces another employee. (Otherwise the volunteering position might be a normal working relationsihp.)
  • Suggestion: Appoint a mentor, who supports the refugee and guarantees the educational character of the volunteering position.

Volunteering positions are merely educational relationships and not normal working relationsships or "occupational therapies".

Volunteering positions only serve the purpose to broaden and apply knowledge and skills for practice.

There needs to be connection between the education and work experience in the refugees homecountry and the content of the volunteering position, meaning that: The refugee shall learn something new which complements his education in the past.

Example: A syrian confessioneer learns during his volunteering position in an Austrian confectionery hot to make typical Austria sweets and cakes.

No compensation

Compensation is strictly forbidden at volunteering positions. Employers are not allowed to pay a salary or other benefits.

problem with compensations: The compensation is not only against the law and may lead to different consequences for the employer (fines etc.).

Any kind of compansation may be taken into account regarding the "Grundversorgung" of the asylum seeker, which might leads to a situation where the asylum seeker does not only lose "Grundversorgung" but also housing.

AMS Notification


  • When: 2 weeks before the volunteering position shall begin
  • Where: the AMS office competent for the region where of the employer
  • What: AMS notification (according to §3 para. 5 AuslBG) and a notification of the competent insurance authority (AUVA Landesstellen)
  • How: Downloading the forms on our platform and using our help texts and tips
  • Who: Employer
  • How much: A volunteering position for 3 months amounts to 45 EUR (incl. insurance and all public duties)

The notification shall enable the AMS to make a basicassesment of legitimacy of the volunteering position.

If the volunteering position is not prohibited within 2 weeks the volunteer can start. An explicit approval is not necessary.

If the AMS prohibits the volunteering position afterwards it has to be ended – latest within 1 week.