The EU Services Directive aims to eliminate barriers which prevent service providers establishing businesses in the EU. The Directive is intended:
- to simplify administrative procedures so that it is easier for service providers based in one country to set up a company in another country;
- To eliminate particularly restrictive legal requirements;
- To ensure that certain principles are upheld, including in respect of discrimination on the basis of nationality.
A service may be provided in Austria if the service provider is authorised to provide this service in their own EU country of origin.
Types of service
Overview of regulated and unregulated business activities listed in the Trade Regulations Act
A full list of regulated business activities.
Partial business activities are reduced forms of regulated business activities for which only a simplified form of certificate of professional competence is required.
Reputable business activities are activities where the reputability of the applicant must be checked before the business activity can be exercised.
Business activities for which the entrepreneur does not need to produce a certificate of professional competence are described as unregulated business activities.
Different forms of service provision
Temporary provision of services
Sole proprietors and companies from EU Member States are permitted to provide services on a temporary and occasional basis (that is, without the need for a permanent foreign subsidiary) throughout the EU. They must ensure that they adhere to the relevant legislation of the Member States in which they intend to provide their services.
Citizens of an EU Member State with a permanent subsidiary in another EU Member State and carrying on a business activity there with due authorisation, may carry on this activity on a temporary and occasional basis in Austria under the same conditions as Austrian citizens. In the case of regulated business activities, advance notification must be given before taking up the activity for the first time (notification of services).
The freedom to provide services also means that companies are allowed to utilise their own personnel to provide services in Austria. Employee secondments of this nature are permitted if companies intend to provide services in Austria on a project-related basis and for a limited period of time.
Before a service is provided, a notification of services must be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth. The Ministry provides further information about notification of services as well as the necessary forms.
Citizens of an EU Member State with a permanent subsidiary in another EU Member State and carrying on a business activity there with due authorisation, may carry on this activity on a temporary and occasional basis in Austria under the same conditions as Austrian citizens. In the case of regulated business activities, advance notification must be given to the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth before taking up the activity for the first time (notification of services).
Applying for work permits
Employers based in other non-Member States that intend to post employees from new EU/EEA Member States or non-Member States require a secondment permit from the Austrian Public Employment Service.
The same applies to the posting of employees from new EU/EEA Member States or non-Member States by employers from new EU/EEA states in certain protected industrial sectors.
The posting of employees from a new EU/EEA Member State or a non-Member State by employers from a new EU/EEA Member State in liberalised sectors need only be reported to the Austrian Authority for the Control of Illegal Employment of Workers (KIAB) of the Federal Ministry of Finance. An EU secondment confirmation issued by the Austrian Public Employment Service on the basis of this notification is sufficient.
Useful information for people living and working in Austria is available from HELP, the Austrian government help service or the Business Service Portal USP.