The EU Blue Card Directive (Council Directive 2009/50/EC) was launched in May 2009. The aim is to attract highly skilled migrants to the EU via a streamlined and uniform system.
All member states are bound by the Directive, apart from the UK, Ireland and Denmark. However, some discretion does remain with the member states, as they are able to set their own Blue Card quotas and can adapt the scheme to fit their country”s specific immigration needs; for example, Germany has focused on linguistic ability and areas of employment such as IT and engineering.
What is new?
In the face of the European fiscal crisis, several EU Member States have moved to implement the Blue Card with the view of attracting highly skilled non-EU nationals to boost their economies.
Germany and Italy began accepting Blue Card applications earlier this year, Belgium followed suite on the 10th September and Portugal will take applications from the 9th October 2012.
How does the system work?
The procedure for applicants will differ slightly on a country by country basis. To apply in Portugal, the non-EU national must have an offer of employment with a Portuguese company, as well as a degree or at least five years work experience.
In Belgium, non-EU nationals must also have a valid work contract with a Belgian sponsor, a minimum three-year university degree and earn a minimum salary.
What are the benefits of the Blue Card?
The Blue Card offers working and salary conditions which are equal to those of EU nationals in participating countries.
It will also confer preferential status onto highly skilled migrants with regard to long-term resident status and will enable the migrant to apply straight away for his or her immediate family to join them.