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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU MOVE TO AUSTRIA

by MatthewMoving to Austria

Austria is a beautiful country with a population of 9,095,239 people. This country offers great scenery, historical sites, and better opportunities for your career and education.
If you are moving to Austria, you need to ensure that you have enough information about life in this country.
Through this guide, you will get a better idea of why relocating to Austria could be the right, or wrong, choice for you. We will discuss the benefits of moving to Austria, including how easy it can be for foreigners to buy property in the country.

The Austrian education system

In Austria, education has both a public and private sector. Therefore, there are state-run and private schools. Public education is the purview of local governments and the Ministry of Education. Conversely, private schools usually operate independently. As such, the sector includes international schools, most of which are privately owned. Additionally, while education in Austria is largely free, private and international schools come with hefty fees.

International schools in Austria

Despite being very expensive, international schools are a popular choice for emigrants in Austria. This is because they offer high-quality, holistic education. As such, Austria has numerous international schools, most of which are located in the capital, Vienna. Additionally, 16 of these are IB World schools that offer the International Baccalaureate diploma.

International schools differ from others in several ways. Firstly, you have to pay to attend them, whereas local Austrian schools are free. Secondly, they offer a very global education that you would not find at a regular school. Thirdly, international schools usually offer a full education from kindergarten through to 12th grade. Conversely, public schools often have different institutions for primary and secondary education. There are many types of international schools in Austria. In addition, these schools offer different styles of education and qualifications. Therefore, the exact curriculum of each school can be different. Nevertheless, all of the international schools in Austria are very similar in that they provide a holistic, high-level education in a multicultural environment. Education can be a very personal choice for parents. This is especially true when it comes to international schools in Austria. These schools offer many advantages and drawbacks, all of which you need to carefully consider.
Perhaps the best thing about international schools in Austria is that they offer a very international environment. As such, students have access to a wide range of cultural influences and languages and there is a lot of opportunity for growth. Similarly, these schools also offer a very inclusive curriculum. In fact, alongside traditional subjects such as science, maths, and history, students may pursue interests in arts, drama, and music.

Even if you decide to send your child to an international school in Austria, you have to find the right one for your needs. Many things go into picking this type of school.

As such, here are a few things to think about:

  • Cost: Can you afford a more expensive school, or should you choose a cheaper option?
  • Curriculum: Do you want your child to follow the French or American system or something else entirely?
  • Qualifications: What degree do students receive at the end? Do you want your child to take the SAT or graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma?
  • Language abilities: Can your child speak English, French, or the main language of instruction in a particular school?
  • Location: Is the school an easy commute, or will your child have to travel or board?
  • Extra-curricular activities: Does the school offer the languages, activities, and sports your child wants to pursue?

Austrian school holidays

In Austria, school holidays are generally set by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research. However, each of Austria’s nine regions can change these schedules slightly to take into account local holidays or requirements. Despite this, the main holidays are usually the same. As such, most of the public holidays are the same, although the big holidays – like the summer break – may differ by a week or so.
Austrian school holidays are generally an opportunity for families to enjoy spending some quality time together. As such, you can expect people to go on family vacations – perhaps to a ski resort – during the winter, and plan longer trips during the summer holidays. As such, these are good times to plan a trip back home if you want to visit your family. That said, many public holidays – such as Labor Day – only offer one day off. Because of this, people don’t tend to leave their homes for these days off.

Public Holidays

Will there be a public holiday during your stay in Austria? And could there be a clock change while you are away? Here is our list of Austrian public holidays and daylight savings time.

2022

  • 01 January: New Year’s Day
  • 06 January: Epiphany
  • 18 April: Easter Monday
  • 01 May: Labour Day
  • 26 May: Ascension Day
  • 06 June: Whit Monday
  • 15 August: Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • 26 October: Austrian National Holiday
  • 01 November: All Saints’ Day
  • 08 December: Immaculate Conception
  • 24 December: Christmas Eve
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Boxing Day
  • 31 December: New Year

2023

  • 01 January: New Year’s Day
  • 06 January: Epiphany
  • 10 April: Easter Monday
  • 01 May: Labour Day
  • 18 May: Ascension Day
  • 29 May: Whit Monday
  • 15 August: Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • 26 October: Austrian National Holiday
  • 01 November: All Saints’ Day
  • 08 December: Immaculate Conception
  • 24 December: Christmas Eve
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Boxing Day
  • 31 December: New Year

2024

  • 01 January: New Year’s Day
  • 06 January: Epiphany
  • 01 April: Easter Monday
  • 01 May: Labour Day
  • 18 May: Ascension Day
  • 29 May: Whit Monday
  • 15 August: Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • 26 October: Austrian National Holiday
  • 01 November: All Saints’ Day
  • 08 December: Immaculate Conception
  • 24 December: Christmas Eve
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Boxing Day
  • 31 December: New Year

What taxes are there in Austria?

Taxes are nothing new—they’ve existed for thousands of years.
The types of taxes in Austria today may not look quite like those, but they exist for the same general principle: the money is intended to pay for public expenses.
It sounds simple in theory, but it’s a bit more complex in practice. There are lots of different types of taxes in Austria, and the country doesn’t have standardised tax legislation. But don’t worry – we’ll give you an overview.

Types of taxes in Austria

According to the Austrian Ministry of Finance, the most important taxes in Austria include:

  • Income tax
  • Wage tax
  • Value-added tax (VAT)
  • Real estate gains tax
  • Capital gains tax
  • Corporation tax

And there are lots of other specific kinds of taxes, like:

  • Alcohol tax, beer tax, tobacco tax, and tax on sparkling wine
  • Vehicle tax and air travel duties
  • Digital tax
  • Electricity duty, natural gas duty, mineral oil tax, and coal duty
  • Land transfer tax and property tax
  • Municipal tax
  • Car registration tax
  • Insurance tax

What’s the difference between direct and taxes?

Taxes are classified as direct or indirect, and it’s an important distinction. It all comes down to who owes the tax and who pays the tax.

With direct taxes, the person or organisation who owes the tax is responsible for paying it directly to the tax authority. That’s why it’s also called being “taxed at source.”

For example, employers and self-employed people need to pay municipal tax to their municipality. It’s based on employees’ gross salary, at a rate of 3%. Wage tax is another direct tax deducted from your wage or salary. The same goes for capital gains tax in Austria: if you generate income by trading securities, you’ll pay tax on this income directly.

With indirect taxes, the person paying the tax isn’t the person who owes it. In other words, the taxes are passed on to the end user.

The best-known example of indirect tax is probably value-added tax, also known as VAT. Companies pay the value-added tax to the tax office, but before they do, they increase the net price of their goods or services—which means that the tax is ultimately paid by the person making the purchase. That’s why bills and receipts always show both the net and gross amounts, before and after VAT has been added.

If you’ve got a car, you’ll pay vehicle tax. You won’t pay this tax if you have a bike. If you avoid flying, stop buying beer and wine, don’t smoke tobacco, and decide not to own your own home, you can avoid the related taxes.

But some taxes simply can’t be avoided. These are taxes like value-added tax, insurance tax, electricity duty, and—depending on your supplier—natural gas duty or mineral oil tax. Generally, these levies are included in the price and you pay them automatically, regardless of your financial situation.

In contrast, income tax is based on your personal circumstances. There are different brackets (also called “bands” or “classes”) for income in Austria. If your annual salary is less than €11,000, you won’t pay any income tax at all. As of 2020, if your annual income is between €11,000 and €18,000, you’ll pay a 20% income tax rate in Austria. And the highest income tax rates are set for those with the largest incomes: 55% for people with an income of more than €1 million a year. You can find a full overview of all the tax brackets in Austria on the official webpage of the Austrian Finance Ministry (in German).

The healthcare system in Austria

The healthcare system in Austria provides excellent healthcare for the vast majority of citizens. Approximately 99% of people who live in Austria are part of the public healthcare system, but it is also possible to purchase additional private health insurance. “Special Class” or “Comfort Class” private healthcare offers you certain benefits, such as shorter waiting times, access to exclusive physicians not available through public healthcare, private hospital rooms, and even a private bathroom or guaranteed television in your room.
Around 99% of residents in Austria are covered by some form of health insurance. Becoming a part of Austria’s public health system is very straightforward: as soon as you start a job in Austria your employer is obligated to register you with Social Insurance within seven days of your start date. Austria’s public healthcare system is comprehensive, covering virtually all your healthcare needs, no matter your age or background. Healthcare in Austria is only free for those who are pensioners, spouses of workers, out of work and on unemployment benefits, and people who are unable to work for other extenuating reasons. If you work in Austria, you contribute to the public healthcare system through your salary, which is taken out of every paycheck as a health insurance tax.

Austria Healthcare System Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. The public healthcare system covers almost everyone.
  2.  Healthcare is of a generally excellent standard.
  3.  Prescription costs are relatively low for medicine on the “positive list.”
  4.  Family members and spouses of employed people are covered.
  5.  Patient co-payments for hospital stays were abolished in 2017.
  6.  No EU country offers more mandatory maternity leave before birth at 100% payment than Austria.

Cons

  1.  Some of the best physicians are only available if you have private medical insurance.
  2.  There are long waiting times with public health insurance.
  3.  Hospital rooms can be shared by up to eight or nine patients.
  4.  New mothers who are employed only receive their full salary for the eight weeks before and eight weeks after the birth of their child. This is not the shortest length of mandatory maternity leave in Europe, but it is not the best either. The highlight is that you get eight weeks before birth, which is rather generous compared to most other European Union states.

Public Transport

Public transport in Austria offers travellers various options for getting around and exploring the country’s cities and towns. Austria has a particularly well-developed public transit system making it relatively straightforward to get from A to B on a visit to the country.
Austria is served by an excellent rail network and buses cover most of the places you’ll want to get to beyond the tracks. With a bit of planning, you can explore the wild beauty of Austria by public transport at your own pace, without ever getting behind the wheel of a car.

Travelling by Train in Austria

traveling by train in AustriaRail travel within Austria is fast, comfortable, reasonably priced, and reliable, and national rail operator ÖBB runs a comprehensive route network across the country. Their Railjet trains are the fastest for intercity routes – clean and quiet, with restaurant cars, free WiFi, and power sockets.
You can book trains online or at train stations (card and cash payments accepted). The cheapest fares are the advance-purchase Sparschiene tickets, which are valid only for a specified departure time; standard tickets offer more flexibility (you’re not tied to a fixed departure time) but can cost twice as much. Seat reservations are only mandatory on some Intercity or EuroCity services, but it’s worth booking on longer journeys or busy intercity routes (there’s a small fee).

Buses are an essential part of the Austrian transport system. This is because they often operate night services and routes to small towns and complement the national train network.

Onboard, most Austrian buses are of good quality and have air conditioning. Regional buses will also have Wi-Fi, toilets, and power sockets. Additionally, many drivers will speak German and English.
Many international bus services also operate through Austria. These connect with many other major European cities in Germany, France, Slovenia, Italy, and more. The most common international bus line is Eurolines.
The price of bus tickets in Austria depends on your route. For example, a single ticket on the Vienna Airport line costs €8. However, local buses will be much cheaper, while regional trips will cost far more.
Most residents and visitors to the country use the train service to travel to other parts of the country but there are also intercity and international bus services that run between the biggest cities and Austria’s neighbouring countries. This is also the best way to reach smaller, more inaccessible villages in Austria’s remotest regions.

Car
The road network in Austria is very good and the roadside scenery can be epic. Motorways operate on a toll system, and vehicles are required to display a toll sticker known as a vignette. Vignettes can be bought to cover 10 days (€9.50), two months (€27.80), or one year (€92.50).

Bike
There are City Bike rental schemes in Vienna and Salzburg, and bike rental services are widespread across Austria. Mountain bikes, road bikes, and e-bikes are all easy to find, and you can take bikes on trains to avoid long road journeys. On the Danube Cycle Path, there’s the useful option to rent a bike in Passau (just over the border in Germany) and drop it off around 185 miles (300km) later in Vienna.

Cost of living in Austria

Is it expensive to live in Austria? In some ways it is. For example, you will probably find that housing is more expensive in Austria than in the other EU countries in terms of the space you get for your money (meaning, you will pay more for a smaller space). However, housing options in Austria are more than 10% cheaper than in neighbouring Germany, and on average nearly 30% cheaper than in France.

Your expenses will also depend on where you settle. The cost of living in Austria varies significantly between different provinces and cities. In general, Vienna and Innsbruck have consistently ranked the most expensive cities in Austria, while the cheapest, or most affordable, cities include Graz and Klagenfurt.

Is it expensive to live in Austria? In some ways it is. For example, you will probably find that housing is more expensive in Austria than in the other EU countries in terms of the space you get for your money (meaning, you will pay more for a smaller space). However, housing options in Austria are more than 10% cheaper than in neighbouring Germany, and on average nearly 30% cheaper than in France.

Your expenses will also depend on where you settle. The cost of living in Austria varies significantly between different provinces and cities. In general, Vienna and Innsbruck have consistently ranked as the most expensive cities in Austria, while the cheapest, or most affordable, cities include Graz and Klagenfurt.

The good news is that the standard of living in Austria is very high. It scores highly on many global rankings for quality of life. Meanwhile, Vienna won the title of the world’s most liveable city for a decade. That said, while the standard of living is high, the cost of living in Austria is also high when compared to other European countries.

Rental costs vary greatly throughout Austria, depending on the location. Naturally, big cities often have higher rents than smaller cities and towns. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment or a studio, for example, may run anywhere between €300 and €900 depending on the location and on whether or not the unit is furnished.
The good news, however, is that due to the Austrian government’s commitment to social and affordable housing, most people spend less of their monthly income on rent than in many other countries.

Unfortunately, buying groceries in Austria is a more expensive endeavour than in many other countries. This is especially true of fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter, which are scarce and pricey. That said, there are many different supermarkets, some of which offer lower prices, so be sure to shop around for your favourite grocery store.

To give you an idea of grocery costs, here are some average prices for common goods:

  1. 1 litre of milk – €1.13
  2. A loaf of bread – €1.90
  3. 12 eggs – €3.12
  4. 1kg local cheese – €13.27
  5. 1kg chicken fillets – €10.40

Generally speaking, restaurants in Austria aren’t very cheap. That said, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant can set you back between €12 and €14, while a three-course feast at a mid-range restaurant can run between €50 and €80. These numbers will vary, of course, depending on whether you are in a major city or a sleepier town. Of course, if you are looking to delve into some hearty Austrian cuisine, you might be tempted to whip up some of your own delicious dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen instead.

If you are looking to update your wardrobe, you will probably notice that the price of clothes and shoes in Austria is a bit higher than in other countries. A pair of jeans can cost you between €50–€120, depending on the store and style, while a pair of running shoes can cost around €85. And if you want to buy designer or brand-name items, you can expect to spend several hundred euros.

If you are looking to join a gym, average rates in Austria vary depending on the size and amenities. On the whole, though, you can expect to pay between €25 and €60 per month. If an artsy night out is more your scene, you have plenty of options. Catching the latest movie with a friend after an informal dinner might cost a total of around €40. On the other end of the scale, however, watching the opera from the comfy seats or attending a very popular concert might set you back a few hundred euros.

Pros & Cons of living in Austria:

Austria is a lovely place to live in. It has many perks that make living in this country an attractive idea.

However, like many places in the world, Austria also has its cons. For the best experience, you should be aware of these before packing your bags and making your way to Austria. As such, we have compiled some pros and cons that are essential to know.

The pros of living in Austria

One of the main reasons Austria is an excellent place to live in is the high quality of life. It offers well-developed transport and healthcare services, excellent education, and many leisure places to visit. With this high quality of life, people living in Austria have a longer life expectancy and better health. They also find it easier to balance between work and personal life. This way, they can reduce the stress level caused by workload.
It is a safe country. Austria is a safe country. It has a pretty low crime rate among developed countries. Nonetheless, it is still crucial to be careful to avoid becoming a victim. One of the things you can do is not walk alone at night, especially around secluded areas.

Outdoor activities. Surrounded by mountains, Austria is a perfect place for outdoor activities. If you are interested in winter sports, this country has many resorts that offer facilities for winter sports. Another fun thing to do in Austria is biking. The cities in Austria are pretty walkable and bikeable, so it is easy to get around even if you do not have a car.

Emigrants community. One of the crucial things to do after arriving in Austria is to find an emigrant community. This group can help you overcome culture shock and will recommend the best places to shop or eat. A city like Vienna has quite a large emigrant community. You can find fellow emigrants online and then contact them for a meetup.

The cons of living in Austria

Language barrier. Many people speak English in this country. However, you need to learn the German language to be able to communicate with more people, especially the locals. Therefore, it is essential to enrol in a German language class before moving to or arriving in Austria. Taking language courses is also a great opportunity to make friends.

Many locals are not open to foreigners. Therefore, it may take a while for them to open up and make friends with emigrants. You can make friends with your local colleagues. If you want to meet more people and have more local friends, you can join a community with the same hobby, join a course, or participate in a local event. However, once they feel comfortable being your friends, you will find Austrians are friendly people.

The most important thing before you decide to move to Austria: make a moving list!

The easiest way to track your progress is by dividing the relocation process into smaller chunks. Making a moving list will save you from stress since you won’t have to memorise everything.

To help you prepare for the relocation, below are the pointers you can use for your moving list:

Moving budget ( preparation, trip, etc.),
Home search,
Required documents,
Moving essentials,
Items to pack.

To have a smooth relocation, you should be well prepared.
Remember to make a moving list first, and engage the removal company. A professional moving company like MyCheapRemovals, will ship your belongings to Austria and save you from carrying heavy luggage on your trip.


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