EU Blue Card Reformed, Conditions Made Easier

EU Blue Card Reformed, Conditions Made Easier

The EU's Blue Card giving eligible foreign professionals the right to live and work in the EU is being made more attractive under the new modifications. 

The European Parliament has announced on 15 September, that the MEPs have adopted the reform on the EU Blue Card to make it easier to employ highly-skilled non-EU nationals and help reduce labour shortages in main sectors.

Earlier this year, the EU Parliament and Council reached a short-term agreement regarding the revision of rules for skilled workers who are nationals and residents of third countries. Now, these rules have become fully effective.

Changes on EU Blue Card

The newly approved changes on the EU Blue Card will allow applicants to present a valid work contract of at least 6 months instead of the previous requirement, which asked for a work contract that needed to be valid for 12 months.

Apart from that, to make the system accessible to even more people, especially for professions in need of workers and recent graduates, the salary threshold is now reduced to at least 100% and not more than 160% of the average gross annual salary in the Member State of employment.

It will be possible to attest certain types of professional qualification, such as in the information and communication technology sector, through proof of relevant work experience.

European Parliament statement

Based on the newly approved rules, the holders of the EU Blue Card will also now be able to move more easily to another Member State only after working for one year in the country in which they first settled. In addition, they can be accompanied by their family members as the new rules have set simpler conditions to bring families together.

Beneficiaries of international protection, such as asylum seekers and refugees, will also be able to apply for the EU Blue Card in Member States other than in the one where they received protection status or asylum.

The EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, has stated that the changes would help correct a situation in which “we are losing the global race for talent”, as highly-educated professionals were more tempted by the United States, Australia, and New Zealand than Europe.

Search for Global Talent

The Blue Card Directive has been in place since late 2009 and defines the entry and residence conditions that a third-country national must meet in order to take up employment in the EU Member States. 

Denmark and Ireland opted out of the scheme, though they have their own national work permits for highly qualified workers.

Under the EU Blue Card initiative, professionals with qualifications in a profession such as doctors, journalists, technicians, engineers and IT specialists can apply. 

The latest data on the program shows that from 2019, 36,800 cards were issued that year. Germany is the main user, issuing more than three-quarters of the Blue Cards in the EU, with Poland and France in distant second and third place.

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