European Blue Card: Council Presidency and Parliament agree new rules to attract skilled workers from third countries
Representatives of the Presidency of the Council and of the European Parliament reached provisional agreement on a proposal for a directive, known as the Blue Card Directive, which establishes the conditions for entry and stay and the conditions for Highly qualified third country nationals wishing to live and work in the EU.
The EU-wide admission system aims to attract and retain highly skilled workers, especially those from sectors that currently face skills shortages, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
âThe green and digital transformation of our economies will only be successful if we have a workforce with the skills to lead it. Education and lifelong learning will play a key role in this, but we also need to ensure that we are equipped to be competitive in the global search for talent â. Portuguese Minister of Internal Affairs Eduardo Cabrita said.
The new regime, whose rules are to replace existing ones, will introduce the following changes:
- Flexible conditions: to benefit from the European Blue Card, the salary threshold will be reduced from one to 1.6 times compared to the average gross annual salary in the respective Member State, which will make it more accessible, in particular for young graduates and professions that need workers. The duration of an employment contract will be reduced to six months.
- Equivalence of skills and qualifications: the new rules will allow the recognition of professional skills for professions in the communication and information technology sector. Applicants with professional experience equivalent to a higher education qualification will also be able to apply.
- Possibilities to change employer or job: In the first year, EU Blue Card holders are only required to take a new labor market test if they want to change employer or job. It is only after this period that cardholders may be required to inform the competent authorities of a change in their situation.
- Intra-EU mobility: under the simplified mobility rules, EU Blue Card holders and their family members will be allowed to move to a second Member State after 12 months from employment in the first Member State. The period of time that a cardholder spends working in different Member States will be taken into account, which will facilitate access to long-term EU resident status.
- Highly qualified beneficiaries of international protection will also be eligible to apply for the European Blue Card.
âMigrant workers already make an important contribution to the EU economy. But our aging and shrinking society means that we must continue to attract foreign skills and talents â. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said welcoming the deal.
Nevertheless, the European Parliament and the Council have yet to confirm the agreement by adopting the European directive on the blue card. Once the directive is adopted, Member States will have two years to transpose the rules into national law.
Previously, the German authorities granted 30,200 visas to qualified trainees and specialists from third countries. The citizens of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Albania have been among those who have benefited the most from the law on skilled immigration.