List of institutions/organisations that give advice
All in all there are three central actors in Austria who are providing advice and support on Labour and Social Welfare Legislation, and on Aliens Legislation, respectively, namely public agencies, organised labour and NGOs.
(I) Public Agencies
There are several public agencies in Austria which are, as administrative bodies and/or advice centres, concerned with the fields of law mentioned above. In general, those agencies are part of the state bureaucracy, and in Austria, as elsewhere, administrative practices are getting increasingly restrictive due to neoliberal reforms in recent years. Hence, make use of the services they are offering, but be careful with the information you are providing. Anyway, the two central institutions in these fields are the following:
(a) Arbeitsmarktservice / AMS (Austrian Public Employment Service )
The central administrative institution of the Austrian labour market is the AMS with its 99 regional offices all over Austria (each responsible for the residents of one or more districts). Its main tasks are job placement, and the grant and payment of unemployment benefits. But it should also assist job seekers with advice, information and qualification opportunities.
Basic information in English: http://www.ams.at/english.html
(b) Magistratsabteilung 35 / MA 35 (Municipal Department 35)
In the federal provinces of Austria different administrative bodies are responsible for matters regarding immigration and citizenship. In Vienna the MA 35 is the place where, amongst other things, all kinds of residence titles are issued. But its customer service centre should also provide you with information regarding the Austrian residence regulations.
Basic information in English: http://www.wien.gv.at/english/administration/civilstatus/index.html
(II) Organised Labour
Organised labour in Austria consists of three central institutions: the works council (Betriebsrat), the chamber of labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK), and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB) which nowadays is an umbrella organisation of seven individual unions. While the first of those institutions is the employee representation at the shop-floor level, the other two, amongst other things, are providing advice and support on Labour and Social Welfare Legislation.
(a) Arbeiterkammer / AK (Chamber of Labour)
For its members (compulsory membership for all employees) the AK is providing information and advice on issues like labour law, social welfare law, tax law or consumer protection. There are numerous agencies all over Austria (e.g. five in Vienna: http://www.wien.arbeiterkammer.at/ueberuns/kontakt/index.html). Many booklets with judicial assistance are available in different languages (e.g. Turkish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian), and in some of the agencies also counselling by native speakers is offered. In order to get personal advice you have to make an appointment.
Basic information in English: http://media.arbeiterkammer.at/PDF/Die_Arbeiterkammern.pdf
(b) Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund / ÖGB (Austrian Trade Union Federation)
For its members (voluntary membership for all employees) the ÖGB is providing advice on the Austrian labour and social welfare law. In some of the federal provinces (Vienna, Upper Austria, Vorarlberg, Burgenland) there are also special offers for migrant workers like, for instance, counselling by native speakers (e.g. Turkish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian; see: http://www.mitgliederservice.at/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=S06/Page/Index&n=S06_50.5).
In addition, legal advice and protection is also offered by the seven individual trade unions affiliated with the ÖGB. Four of those unions are mainly engaged in the private sector, and the other three are mainly engaged in the public sector. For concrete information visit the websites of those unions:
(1) Union of Private Salaried Employees – Sectors Printing, Journalism and Paper (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten – Druck, Journalismus, Papier, GPA-djp; http://www.gpa-djp.at); (2) Union for Production Workers (Produktionsgewerkschaft, PRO-GE; http://www.proge.at); (3) vida for workers in transport and service professions (www.vida.at); (4) Building and Timber Union (Gewerkschaft Bau-Holz, GBH; http://www.bau-holz.at); (5) Union of Public Services (Gewerkschaft Öffentlicher Dienst, GÖD; http://www.goed.at), (6) Union of Municipal Employees – Arts, Media, Sports and the Professions (Gewerkschaft der Gemeindebediensteten – Kunst, Medien, Sport, freie Berufe, GdG-KMSfB; http://www.gdg-kmsfb.at), (7) Postal and Telecommunication Union (Gewerkschaft der Post- und Fernmeldebediensteten, GPF; http://www.gpf.at).
Basic information in English: http://issuu.com/oegbinternet/docs/oegb_english/3?e=4858980/4071791
(III) Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
Besides public agencies and organised labour there are numerous NGOs which, inter alia, are providing advice and support on both, on Labour/Social Welfare Legislation, and on Aliens Legislation.
(a) ARGE MigrantInnenberatung (Consortium Advice for Migrants in Austria)
The most important institution in the field of NGOs in Austria regarding economic migration is the Consortium Advice for Migrants in Austria (ARGE MigrantInnenberatung Österreich) which comprises agencies in six federal provinces. These counselling organisations are combining an expertise in both fields of law mentioned above. These six agencies are the Beratungszentrum für Migranten und Migrantinnen in Vienna (www.migrant.at), the Zentrum für MigrantInnen Oberösterreich (MIGRARE, http://www.migrare.at) in Linz, the Institut für Arbeitsmigration (IAM, http://www.iam.co.at) in Klagenfurt, the Verein zur Beratung und Betreuung von Ausländern (VEBBAS, http://www.vebbas.at) in Salzburg, the Zentrum für MigrantInnen in Tirol (ZEMIT, http://www.zemit.at) in Innsbruck and the Zentrum zur sozialmedizinischen, rechtlichen und kulturellen Betreuung von Ausländern und Ausländerinnen in Österreich (ZEBRA, http://www.zebra.or.at) in Graz.
Basic information: http://www.migrant.at/homepage-2006/argeoesterreich/argeoesterreich.html
(b) Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Freie Wohlfahrt (National Association of Free Charity)
The big charity organisations organized under the umbrella of the National Association of Free Charity (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Freie Wohlfahrt, BAG), namely the (Catholic) Caritas (www.caritas.at/hilfe-einrichtungen/migrantinnen), the (Protestant) Diakonie (www.diakonie.at/goto/de/taetigkeitsbereiche/migrantinnen-und-fluechtlinge), the (Christian democratic) Hilfswerk (www.hilfswerk.), the (social democratic) Volkshilfe (www.volkshilfe.at/1129,,,2.html), and the Red Cross (www.roteskreuz.at/migration-suchdienst) are mainly engaged with refugee and asylum issues. Nevertheless, in certain areas they are also providing information and advice to migrants in general or to special target groups like for example “irregular migrants”.
Basic information: http://www.freiewohlfahrt.at
(c) Other NGOs
Apart from these institutions there are several other NGOs which provide legal advice with respect to the Aliens Legislation in general or with focus on special problem areas or target groups.
# An example for the former is the advice centre Helping Hands with offices in Vienna, Salzburg and Graz, which are providing professional advice to different topics regarding the Austrian Aliens Legislation: http://www.helpinghands.at
# Asylum seekers and refugees are supported by NGOs like e.g. Asylum in Need (Asyl in Not; http://www.asyl-in-not.org), Advice for Deserters and Refugees (Deserteurs- und Flüchtlingsberatung; http://www.deserteursberatung.at), the House of Integration (Integrationshaus; http://www.integrationshaus.at) or the association Flüchtlingsprojekt Ute Bock (www.fraubock.at) and Purple Sheep (www.purplesheep.at), partly organized under the nationwide umbrella of the Asylum Coordination Austria (Asylkoordination; http://www.asyl.at). In the federal provinces several other institutions are located in this field, for instance Fluchtpunkt in Innsbruck (www.fluchtpunkt.org).
# A broad range of services (legal advice etc.) to support female migrants in different fields is offered by institutions like LEFÖ (www.lefoe.at), Peregrina (www.peregrina.at), Orient Express (www.orientexpress-wien.com) or Piramidops (www.piramidops.at). In the federal provinces several other institutions are located in this field, for instance MAIZ in Linz (www.maiz.at).
(IV) Other institutions
(a) Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft / ÖH (Austrian Students’ Union)
For students the so called Department for Foreign Students (Referat für ausländische Studierende) of the Austrian Students’ Union is offering (legal) advice and support in different fields of law. There are comparable offers at many of the Austrian universities and universities of applied sciences.
(b) Wirtschaftskammern Österreich / WKÖ (Chamber of Economy Austria)
What the Chamber of Labour is for Austrian labour the Chamber of Economy is for Austrian capital (compulsory membership for all self-employed persons). Nonetheless, its services (e.g. advice on commercial law or tax law) are also provided to micro- and one-person businesses who are de facto wage-earners.
Basic Information: http://www.wko.at