The European Union wishes to attract foreign talent with the EU Blue Card Directive
True or false?
Most countries wish to attract highly qualified workers able to satisfy the demands of companies within their borders. The European Union is not an exception to this rule and wishes to appeal to workers from third-party countries (including the United Kingdom) by creating the EU Blue Card permit.
Moreover, travel restrictions due to the COVID pandemic do not seem to affect this type of visa holder from entering the EU, as long as the sanitary measures have been respected.
Requirements for the EU Blue Card
The European Council Directive of 25 May 2009, aimed to facilitate the rights of highly qualified migrants to entry, stay, and employment lists the following requirements:
- Proof that the employee has a high level of education or professional qualifications, either
in the form of a university degree or pertinent professional experience;
- Benefits from an employment contract for one year or more with the host
country, member of the European Union; and
- Benefits from a minimum annual gross salary stipulated by the host country.
This type of permit is designed to “simplify” immigration processes, for both the professionals and their family members (the spouse is usually also permitted to be employed in the host country).
Although this permit is mostly adapted to stable employment over a long-term, workers may change companies if the above requirements are still met. Long stay or even permanent employment is possible for EU Blue Card permit holders.
Mobility implications for EU Blue Card Holders
It should be noted that certain European countries have not transposed this permit into their internal legal systems, Britain being one of them before leaving the EU.
Mobility between EU member states for holders of the EU Blue Card
The aforementioned European Blue Card Directive provides that holders of the EU Blue Card and their families can transfer to other member states to take up employment of a similarly high-skilled position, but only after having worked for 18 months in their initial host country. The Blue Card Directive decree states that workers should apply for a new European Blue Card in their new host country within one month of arrival. This has the advantage that no new visa application is most of the time necessary to enter the new host country.
As the EU is not one nation, EU member states are free to stipulate certain criteria, in particular the salary threshold for obtaining an EU Blue Card.
The discrepancies between countries are great (i.e. 71 946 Euro in Luxembourg, 53 836 Euro in France, 53600 Euro in Germany, 33 808 Euro in Spain, 24 789 Euro in Italy, etc.).
Issues that may arise from EU Blue Card eligibility
Even when the salary amounts are respected, other difficulties may arise when an EU Blue Card holder transfers to a new host country within the European Union. For example, they may only have temporary accommodation during their first month, which may not be accepted by the authorities delivering the new EU Blue Card or the blue card application may take several months to produce, during which the applicants have no documentation authorising them to work in the new country, which is incompatible with judicial security.
It is clear that some effort is still needed to streamline inter-member state mobility for EU Blue Card holders within the EU. Companies have a role to play in lobbying for more flexibility in the field so that the idea behind the EU Blue Card Directive becomes easier to apply.
For more information on the EU Blue Card and all types of work permits and visas, contact us to speak to a member of our immigration team directly.