In Austria, since migrant women are the majority of the sex workers, obtaining legal residency is highly important for them.

In Austria, specific legal provisions for sex workers are inexistent. The only legal provision for migrants with specific regard to sex work refers to trafficking; however, there is an order from the Ministry of Interior which concerns sex workers, as may be seen below: (Visa D+C)

The following legal provisions pertain to all migrants–not specifically sex workers:

Citizens from EU/EEA Countries may work as self-employed sex workers in Austria.

Non-EU Migrant sex workers need a travel and a short-term stay visa D+C in accordance with Immigration Police Law §24, which is an entitlement that is not possible in accordance with the immigration law for sex workers.

The Visa D+C may be granted for a period ranging from 3 months up to 6 months, within a given year; however, there is a big pile of papers needed for this kind of visa. The maximum duration is 6 months within a total of 12 months, which means that it is not possible to work for a continuous period of time.

Since 2003, asylum seekers may work as sex workers in the category of the “newly self-employed“.

On 01 January 2006, a new immigration law came into effect, which has dramatically aggravated the situation of non- EU migrants working in prostitution. The new visa D+C (travel- and short-term stay visa) regulates the sex-worker`s stay and work in the country, as indicated above. The new regulations have worsened the situation of non-EU migrant sex workers because they do not have the possibility to consolidate their stay/residence in the country or to carry out their work on a continuous basis in order to make ends meet. They are forced into constant mobility and into greater dependence. Their weakened status renders more easily exploitable and there is no recognition given to their work.

Also, the presence of the non-EU migrant sex workers who have lived and worked in Austria for years with the old visa (self-employed without residency) is being ignored, and they are becoming illegalised migrants. For example, the women the Ukraine and the Dominican Republic, or other Latin American countries, have disappeared into other less visible areas of prostitution, or into underground networks, or they have moved on into other regions/areas.

The general changes in the new immigration legislation (immigration and citizenship law) bring even tougher restrictions for migrants, particularly with regard to marriage with an Austrian citizen and to consolidating a person’s stay, etc. Migrant sex workers are also affected by these restrictive measures.

If a sex workers commits an offence against the prostitution laws or if they stay and work in Austria without a valid residency entitlement, he or she may be expelled.

If a sex worker’s stay in Austria is deemed to endanger public order and security, including serious offences against the prostitution laws or other laws regulating prostitution, Residence prohibition, if his / her stay in Austria endangers the public order and security, including grave offences against prostitution law or other laws regulating prostitution, he or she may be expelled.