Thursday, June 10, 2021

EU Parliament Approves Blue Card Reforms for Highly Skilled Workers From Third Countries

Highly qualified non-European nationals interested in working in a European Member State are now able to present a work contract or bind on a job offer for a minimum of six months, thanks to the Committee’s decision to support the EU Blue Card’s revision. Previously the minimum job contract period was 12 months.

The Civil Liberties Committee approved the agreement with the Council, with 52 votes in favour, seven votes against, and four abstentions, reports.

According to a press release issued by the European Parliament, the new rules will allow applicants to apply for EU Blue Card with a salary threshold reduced to 100 per cent, but the amount cannot be more than 160 per cent of the average gross annual salary of the state of employment. Evidence of higher qualifications or professional skills must be provided alongside the work contract and job offer requirement.

The new regulation is also applicable for third-country nationals in the EU, who can move to other EU countries 12 months after working in an EU state in which they settled first.

In some instances, such as information and communication technology departments, qualifications are allowed to be replaced with relevant professional experience instead of an academic degree.

At the same time, the updated regulation will permit highly skilled beneficiaries of international protection, to apply for an EU Blue Card in the other Member States, and not only in the one where they received protection, as it has been so far.

The rapporteur Javier Moreno Sánchez (S&D, ES) highlighted that Blue Card’s reformation is a positive sign that Europe is moving in the right direction.

“Europe, in parallel to the fight against irregular immigration, must increase the legal forms of migration and, above all, facilitate the arrival of qualified workers who can contribute to the development of our continent. And the new Blue Card will be a very attractive and effective tool both for workers from third countries and for the European economies and societies,” Sánchez noted after the Committee voted on the regulation.

In the upcoming days, the text is expected to be approved by the plenary and the Council. Once it gets approved, the text will be published in the Official Journal to become later effective. Member states are granted two years to adapt the national legislation to align with the directive.

On December 10, representatives of the main EU institutions held a meeting to discuss the most important political elements of the EU Blue Card’s reform, agreeing the matter is crucial for EU legal migration.

The EU Blue Card scheme was established in 2009 as an attempt to grant highly qualified workers the right to live and work in an EU country. Denmark and Ireland do not participate in this initiative.

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