COVID-19 and expatriation in Austria

Hello everybody,

The COVID-19 crisis inevitably impacts Austria, between closed airports or periods of containment in some cities or even the entire country .
We would like to hear from you during this unusual period, to find out what the consequences of this pandemic are on your expatriation or expatriation project in Austria.

Does the current crisis call into question your long-term expatriation project?
If you are already settled in Austria, do you plan to return to your home country?

How are you living through such an uncertain period, especially if you are far from your loved ones?

Have any of you ended your expatriation in Austria unexpectedly?

Paradoxically, has this crisis brought you closer to some people?

What are your plans for the future?

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Hope you are doing well.

Loïc.

If anyone can post updates on border controls as they happen it would be appreciated. I was due to move to Austria (driving) from the UK at Easter. Now leaving asap after Easter as we are allowed to cross the borders. Understand there is no way through at the moment - but if anyone crosses these borders or has info on how they change after Easter please let me know. We have to move our house furniture as well. Thanks, Graham

Pretty much the whole of Europe is on lockdown, I would wait a few months. Follow the information on the Gov.UK website.

I'll bite...

It has been both comforting and horribly disorienting to be an ex-pat in Austria during COVID-19.

The comforting part is that there is a great social fabric here in Austria and the government, by and large, is being proactive, compassionate and rational.

But being an ex-pat also has it's challenges right now. My employer laid me off right in then middle of all this, claiming it had nothing to do with the crisis ("business reasons" I was told). Being the only American, the only person on a RWR card, and the only non-native speaker, I find this argument dubious at best, but whatever. It effectively made it necessary for me to rethink my employment, my visa and all sorts of other things. My residence is obviously contingent on my employment, so there are things that I have to get done in the next month or so. The biggest challenge is that in order to CHANGE any of this, it requires an in-person trip to the BH to give them my fingerprints and paperwork. This is right now impossible as they are closed to the public. So it puts me in this weird limbo of still being technically employed for another month, being eligible for a new RWR+ card that would give me more job options, but unable to access the services that would make that possible to even explore them if they were presented to me. I have been told that I would be eligible for the unemployment benefits after the 15th of May (my final work day) but my investigation has showed me that is really not enough to live on here for an extended period (55% for 6 months) of time. No idea what would happen after that point. My employer just said "well then you could get a 3 month tourist visa!"... thanks, jerks, for basically saying "leave Austria, you Auslander!"...

The Embassy in Vienna was very helpful and said that the Visa/Residency conditions are not being rigidly enforced at the moment, but it would be nice to know that I am not doing something that also jeopardizes my future visa process in Austria too.

I am fortunate that my skills are still in high demand (data architecture and business intelligence) and that before all this started I was fielding recruiter calls almost every day. So if the economy DOES get moving again soon, I am sure there will be some options... but for now it is a frustrating waiting game between things getting started again, unemployment uncertainty and legal residency. I have had a few good interviews in the last week, but I am still waiting to see if any employer is brave enough to take on starting a new full time contract with an ex-pat.

All that being said, I am still glad that I am here rather than in the US, where healthcare can bankrupt you overnight for something as simple as an ambulance ride. Not to mention the daily ravings of the mad narcissist in charge over there now.

My neighbors here in Dornbirn are great...we all check in on each other and are trying to maintain a civil presence in our community.

I stay in regular contact with my family and friends in the US... we Zoom all the time and that has also been a comfort. I also have a nice girlfriend in Germany that would be a Plan C backup if things don't get better here before I have to act more decisively.

Happy to talk more, here or via computer, with anyone that wants to. fjblau[at]gmail.com is the best way to reach me.

Frank

Due to Brexit and the high probability of a hard Brexit, we have been forced to decide to move back to the UK, as we are not prepared to be treated as third class citizens, where Romanians and Bulgarians are given priority for jobs, and we are treated the same as Indians, Pakistanis, Turks etc. As we have lived here for over 8 years, we would be elligible to apply for Austrian citizenship (but not dual passports, not allowed), but then am unsure how I would be treated in the UK with an Austrian passport!
The borders as of 14.04 are still closed, and Austria are lifting restrictions slowly, provided that the figures remain low or depletive. We wish to do the reverse of some, and move our furniture and belongings into storage back in the UK until we have found a suitable new home, as well as new jobs.
Although I felt deep down that the Engländer might vote for Brexit, we have spent the past 3.75 years on tenterhooks, praying this decision would be reversed, to no avail.
We have sold our appartment within 3 weeks, and have a deadline of 01.10.2020 to move out. The rate we are going, the furniture will have to go into storage in Austria, and we will have to rent somewhere here or perhaps England until things can be moved again.
Wishing all the good luck to everyone involved in Austria or the UK with ideas to emmigrate here.
Rod 604

Good luck Frank with your job hunting either in Vorarlberg or Germany. You're not that far from Switzerland either - Zurich might be another place to look at (apart from the high cost of living) There is a comprehensive list of online forms you could fill out on the government website if you want to move things on, also available in English.

Greetings from Schladming, Styria

Rod604

Thanks! Still on the hunt here!

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