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Location and Business Policy

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The goal of economic policy is to sustainably improve the quality of life of citizens by securing jobs as well as ensuring income growth and a fair distribution of income with due regard to appropriate social and environmental standards.

Siting of Companies

Austria is a prime destination for foreign investors

With the Austrian Business Agency (ABA-Invest in Austria), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs boasts an efficient entity to provide professional support to international investors.

Service entity with a global network

The Austrian Business Agency (ABA), a subsidiary of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, works to make Austria attractive to international companies, top talents and film producers. With its three business areas INVEST in AUSTRIA, WORK in AUSTRIA and FILM in AUSTRIA, ABA consults and supports international companies, top talents and film producers at no cost on all issues concerning Austria as a business, research and work location and as a film location.

ABA as a comprehensive competence centre

INVEST in AUSTRIA is the key to the Austrian business location for all international companies and startups, both for initially setting up business operations as well as further expansion steps. In addition to locating international companies, ABA also serves as the competence centre for local companies searching for international specialists. WORK in AUSTRIA offers specific assistance to international and local companies as well as to the sought-after specialists in all procedural steps involved in the issuing of residence permits, especially the Red-White-Red – Card. ABA sees itself as a one-stop-shop for all official proceedings and the recruitment of international talents. In its capacity as the Austrian-wide film commission, FILM in AUSTRIA provides support to international film productions when filming in Austria. Among the 500 films made were highlights such as James Bond, Mission Impossible and the Bollywood blockbuster Tiger Zinda Hai. The offering ranges from film promotion – totalling € 83 million up until now – and assistance in searching for a suitable location to filming permits, the search for cooperation partners and networking of filmmakers.

In 2021 the Austrian Business Agency generated the second-best results in its 40-year history – despite the coronavirus pandemic

On balance, INVEST in AUSTRIA supported 364 companies in 2021 which invested a total of € 1.24 billion and created 3,403 new jobs. The share of companies bringing a high value creation to Austria could be increased from 14 percent to 21 percent. This particularly applies to the field of research and development and startups with a high future potential. At present, ABA is consulting 1,400 firms interested in locating in Austria or expanding their current activities.

Recruiting international specialists

The availability of specialised employees plays an equally crucial role for domestic firms as well as for international companies locating in Austria. In 2021 WORK in AUSTRIA advised 474 companies and international specialists in 2021 on the issue of residence and employment in Austria. 75 percent of the procedures to receive a Red-White-Red – Card and other residence permits related to positions in the MINT fields, half of which were IT jobs. The success rate for submitting applications with the support of ABA was about 90 percent. Furthermore, the WORK in AUSTRIA team responded to 4,199 inquiries on the issue of living and work in Austria. 1,703 people applied for jobs with companies in Austria via the ABA Job Platform.

About € 6 million in additional value creation from international film productions

FILM in AUSTRIA realised six film projects in 2021. “FBI International,” a series broadcast by CBS, was shot in the Grossglockner mountains. Amazon’s “Hunters” series used the world-famous World Heritage Site of Hallstadt as a film set in addition to the town of Werfen. Harrison Ford was present in filming “Indiana Jones” on the Schafberg and Loser mountains and Amazon’s “Jack Ryan 3” relied on Vienna and Lower Austria as film settings.

Film

Here you can find all key information on the funding programme of FISA – Film Industry Support Austria, on existing film agreements as well as the recognition of co-productions.

FISA – Film Industry Support Austria

This film funding programme strengthens the competitiveness of the Austrian film industry and makes Austria attractive as a location for foreign co-production partners. Information and submission of application

Recognition of co-productions

It should be noted that an application for recognition of co-productions must be filed before shooting begins. The relevant time limits need to be observed. Co-productions are becoming increasingly important for the Austrian film industry. They generate enhanced funding options for individual films on the one hand, and help in seeing that the capital invested pays off (access to additional markets for sales) on the other. Films that are co-produced are deemed to be equivalent to films that are produced nationally and may receive the kind of support that is available in the country party to the agreement. The recognition of co-productions as well as negotiations on bilateral film agreements fall within the remit of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. The Federal Chancellery is responsible for the funding of films (Austrian Film Institute – Österreichisches Filminstitut) and the representation of Austria in international film forums.

Women in Business

Supporting women in business is of great importance for the Austrian market in social policy, demographic and economic terms.

Location Policy

The goal of economic policy is to sustainably improve the quality of life of citizens by securing jobs as well as ensuring income growth and a fair distribution of income with due regard to appropriate social and environmental standards. Location policy is part of economic policy aimed at devising strategic positions and consistent long-term measures for improving the international competitiveness of an economic region in a sustainable manner. The basic thrust of the location policies pursued by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is to create and design a business-friendly environment in Austria resulting in a positive sum game with long-term benefits for both employers and employees. With the transfer of important economic policy powers to the European level – in particular concerning monetary policy and the framework for budgetary policy – location policy has become a key instrument for steering the economy.

The quality of the Austrian economy as a business location has been constantly improved as shown by various rankings: economic downturns were met by Austria's economic policy with investments in research and education as well as efforts to strengthen entrepreneurial freedom and hone the framework conditions for businesses – the response thus chosen focused on structural improvement as a basis for sustainable economic growth. Traditional strengths of the Austrian regions such as high environmental quality, labour skills or economic and social stability were consolidated and further expanded.

Major structural improvements are expected to result from the 2012 increase of research spending to around 2.8 per cent of GDP, but also from the liberalisation of the Austrian Trade Act (Gewerbeordnung – GewO) and the privatisation of economically significant supply industries (already implemented in part), the liberalisation of the energy and telecommunication markets, the reinforcement of the capital market (in particular risk capital), administrative reforms and in particular simplified administrative procedures and the alleviation of the financial burden involved in business start-up processes.

Policies in recent years have encouraged market economic processes and initiated a trend reversal towards measures ensuring a balanced budget. In response to changes in society, policies have also been adapted to encourage self-autonomy and individual responsibility as well as to raise awareness regarding the necessity of taking ownership for one's actions, thus laying the cornerstone for a successful Austrian location policy.

Overview: Location-relevant policy areas by groups of instruments

  • Tax reform: corporate income tax rate (KöSt) reduced to 25 per cent
  • Sustainable budget consolidation: balanced budgets over the cycle
  • Targeted funding policy: institutional and programmatic restructuring
  • Policies of liberalisation: Trade Act, energy, telecommunication, shop-opening hours, facilitation of start-ups
  • Start-up policies focusing on technology and innovation
  • Privatisation policies
  • Administrative reform: New Public Management and e-Government
  • Reinforcement of the (risk) capital market
  • Efficient labour market policy and modernisation of the public employment service

Proposals for location development

The Location Development Act (Standortentwicklungsgesetz – StEntG) of the Austrian federal government aims to provide an accelerated procedure for projects of relevance (impact) to a region and of special public interest to the Republic of Austria. This Act establishes a framework which affords predictability with respect to decisions made by public authorities and enhances legal certainty for businesses and citizens. In the eyes of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, faster decisions and accelerated procedures are key to promoting new jobs, competitive strength and security of supply.

Experience has shown that projects of importance to the Austrian economy are at risk of getting stuck in complex administrative processes in spite of defined procedural time-limits. Excessively long procedures constitute a massive disadvantage for the Austrian market, inhibiting the involvement of private investors and wasting an opportunity for increasing competitiveness. With the Location Development Act, the federal government ensures that the developers of location-relevant projects can assert their claim to accelerated procedures. A location-relevant project within the meaning of this Act is a project that requires an environmental impact assessment. The Act is intended to encourage projects and result in value being added and jobs being created in Austria rather than being delocalised.

Applicants for location-relevant projects may submit their proposals at: AnregungStandortentwicklung.POST@bmaw.gv.at

Business Policy as a Key Element of Government Economic Policy

Within this context, business policy is an ongoing process aimed at optimising the framework conditions for companies of all sizes and sectors, while supporting areas with a potential to increase Austria's competitiveness and economic growth. The economic structure of the country, with more than 99 per cent made up of small- and medium-sized companies, explains why SME policy is the key element of business politics.

It is in the nature of things that some 328,900 SMEs, defined as companies with fewer than 250 employees, are very heterogeneous. They also include roughly 120,500 one-person enterprises (OPEs), meaning businesses which currently have no employees but frequently tend to grow and want to recruit staff, as well as roughly 5,500 medium-sized enterprises (50-249 employees). These data refer to 2016, the most recent data available from Statistics Austria. This signifies that the needs and concerns of SMEs vary greatly. Consequently, the business policy of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs involves sector- and size-specific measures, while at the same time pursuing the common interests of all business undertakings.

Business Start-up

Launching one's own business is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to work independently and are prepared to undertake above average efforts. New companies provide major impetus to domestic business, create new jobs and are thus important engines of growth. Austria needs these innovative and inventive workers who turn their professional strengths and qualifications into brands of their own, while generating growth, employment and structural effects. In particular in economically difficult times, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs is very much interested in further optimising the framework for those wishing to set up business and offers support to business starters. The Start-up Service (German) of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs will assist you in your first steps towards self-employment.

For further information and to establish business in Austria you can also consider the platform Unternehmensserviceportal usp.gv.at.

Figures:

  • 29,935 business starters in 2017
  • 44.1 per cent women's share in new start-ups in 2017
  • 80 per cent still in business after three years, 68 per cent after five years

Contact

Location and Business Policy: wirtschaftsstandort@bmaw.gv.at