On 1 July 2013, the Republic of Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union. Similar to previous EU enlargements (like Bulgaria and Romania in 2007), numerous transition periods were agreed in the Treaty of Accession with Croatia, resulting in certain rights and freedoms becoming effective only several years after the accession. The Treaty with Croatia offered Member States of the European Union the possibility to temporarily restrict the labour market access for Croatian nationals and to continue to apply national rules as well as those resulting from bilateral agreements with Croatia for a maximum period of seven years.
This option was used by the Austrian government and full Austrian labour market access for Croatian nationals was initially restricted for two years, being extended by three years in 2015 and by a further two years in 2018, taking full advantage of the maximum seven-years period. The reason given by the legislative bodies for the continued restriction was the above-average number of Croatian nationals that were already unemployed in Austria.
On 1 July 2020, exactly seven years after the Republic of Croatia joined the European Union, these restrictions ceased to exist, and Croatian nationals now have full access to the Austrian labour market, meaning they also now enjoying full freedom of movement for workers in Austria. From 1 July 2020, Croatian nationals do not require any kind of work permit to be gainfully employed in Austria.