Europe greenlights new rules to attract highly skilled workers from outside EU

Family members of Blue Card holders will be able to accompany them and access the EU labour market

Photo: EU Margaritis Schinas.

The Portuguese Presidency of the Council and EP representatives reached a provisional agreement on new rules for the entry and residence of highly skilled workers from outside the EU under the revised Blue Card Directive. This EU-wide admission system aims to attract and retain highly qualified specialists, mainly in sectors facing skills shortages.

The agreement provides more flexible admission conditions, enhanced rights and the possibility to move and work more easily between EU countries.

Eduardo Cabrita, Minister for Home Affairs of Portugal commented that the revised rules for the Blue Card are placing the EU “firmly among the top destinations for highly qualified workers”.

EU countries will be able to maintain national schemes aimed at highly qualified workers in parallel with the EU Blue Card scheme. The new rules will introduce a number of provisions to ensure a level playing field so that EU blue card holders and their families are not at a disadvantage compared to holders of national permits.

The provisional political agreement is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament before going through the formal adoption procedure.

Welcoming the agreement, Margaritis Schinas, EC Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said that it gives the EU a modern, targeted legal migration scheme “that will allow us to respond to skills shortages and make it easier for highly skilled professionals to join our workforce”. This agreement on a key migration file also shows that, by working together, the EU can equip itself with a future-proof migration system, he commented. 

Migrant workers already make an important contribution to the EU's economy, but our shrinking, aging society means we must continue to attract skills and talent from abroad, pointed out Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

She also stressed that the agreement is a key element of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum “that will allow us to normalise our migration policy”.

Under the new scheme will be facilitated the recognition of professional skills for occupations in the information and communication technologies. Applicants for Blue Card with professional experience equivalent to a higher education qualification in some specific sectors will also be eligible to apply.

Family members of Blue Card holders will be able to accompany them and access the EU labour market. They will be able to move to a second Member State under simplified mobility rules after 12 months of employment in the first Member State.

Periods of time spent working in different Member States will also be taken into account, facilitating easier access to the EU long-term resident status.

 

 

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