I’m always amazed at the ways various countries have of importing citizens. For example, Victoria Ferauge (you really should read her blog if you like this one) writes about how to buy your way into both the US and France. As it turns out, Austria also allows this, but in a slightly different manner.

The Austrian government has created the Settlement Permit — Gainful Employment Excepted. The short version: if you have a permanent, provable income and have basic language skills, you can live in Austria. There is a quota on immigrants via this method and you’re not allowed to take work in Austria. The main obstacle for most will be the following:

[The applicant must] have a regular monthly income (e.g. Austrian or foreign pensions, profits from enterprises abroad, income from assets, savings or company shares) equalling twice the amount of the standard rates of the General Social Insurance Act (ASVG):

General Social Insurance Act – standard rates for the year 2012

Standard rateTwice the rate
Married couples or partnerships€1.221,68€2.443,36
additionally for each child€125,72€251,44

In other words, you can’t be a remote worker and take this opportunity unless you can still demonstrate a separate, permanent income source.

Having been to Vienna twice, I can tell you that this is a tempting proposition. The people are friendly and the country is lovely.