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In the version of 30 October 2017 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1106 ff. Valid as from 1 August 2017) Section 21
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(1) A foreigner may be granted a temporary residence permit for the purpose of self-employment if
1. an economic interest or a regional need applies,
2. the activity is expected to have positive effects on the economy and
3. the foreigner has personal capital or an approved loan to realise the business idea.
Assessment of the prerequisites in accordance with sentence 1 shall focus in particular on the viability of the business idea on which the application is based, the foreigner’s entrepreneurial experience, the level of capital investment, the effects on the employment and training situation and the contribution to innovation and research. The competent bodies for the planned business location, the competent trade and industry authorities, the representative bodies for public-sector professional groups and the competent authorities regulating admission to the profession concerned must be involved in examining the application.
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(2a) A foreigner who has successfully completed his studies at a state or state-recognised university or a comparable educational institution in the federal territory or who holds a temporary residence permit as a researcher or scientist in accordance with Sections 18 or 20 may be issued a temporary residence permit for self-employment purposes by way of derogation from subsection 1. The envisaged self-employment must demonstrate a connection to the knowledge acquired during the higher education studies or the research or scientific activities.
(3) Foreigners older than 45 should be issued a temporary residence permit only if they possess adequate provision for old age.
4) The period of validity of the temporary residence permit shall be limited to a maximum of three years. By way of derogation from Section 9 (2), a permanent settlement permit may be issued after a period of three years, if the foreigner has successfully carried out the planned activity and adequate income ensures the subsistence of the foreigner and the dependants living with him as a family unit and whom he is required to support.
(5) By way of derogation from subsection 1, a foreigner may be granted a temporary residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. A required permit to practice the profession must have been issued or confirmation must have been provided that such permit will be issued. Subsection 1, sentence 3, shall apply accordingly. Subsection 4 shall not apply.
(6) A foreigner who will be or has been granted a temporary residence permit for another purpose may be permitted to pursue self-employment while retaining the aforesaid purpose of residence, if the permits required pursuant to other provisions have been issued or the authorities have indicated that such permits will be issued.