European Blue Card, Yet To Happen

04 Dec 2010


The European Union has been planning since 2007 to introduce a ‘Eu Blue card' scheme modeled on the American 'green card' Work Permit. The card would entitle skilled migrants to work in a member state for two years and then move to a second EU member country after two or three years.

If EU plans are implemented workers could apply to stay permanently after five consecutive years in any EU state and would be free to travel where they wished.

EU Blue Card is an approved EU-wide work permit allowing high skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union (excluding the UK, Ireland and Denmark). However, Britain may be indirectly forced by the EU to open its borders to an extra 20-million workers from Asia and Africa. By 2011, the Directive on an EU-wide work permit for high-skilled non-EU citizens has to be implemented.

The Blue Card proposal presented by European Commission offers a one-track procedure for non-EU citizens to apply for a work permit, which would be valid for up to two-years, but can be renewed thereafter. The proposal also encourages geographic mobility within the EU, between different member states, for those who have been granted a blue card. Also, Blue Card holders are granted the same social and labor rights as the citizens of the receiving country as well as the right to family reunification.

From 2013, the Member States will keep statistics on the number of Blue Cards issued each year.

MEPs say that it must also be possible to grant the card to third country nationals already legally staying in the Union under other regimes, but it should not be granted to asylum applicants or third country nationals admitted to the Union as seasonal workers, as the latter are covered by a specific proposal for a directive.

EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini announced: 'The Blue EU Labour Card' would allow qualified migrants from Asian and African countries the right to live, work and travel in the 27 member states.

"The plan will be unveiled next month," he said.

Three and a half years after it was supposed to be put into effect, some Member States (such as Spain and Belgium) have yet to fully enact the law or give the rights promised in the directive. So, we have to wait for some more time.


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