Proposed changes to the EU Blue Card were agreed on by the European Parliament and the Council, and they are part of an overall plan to change aspects of the European Union's migration policy. These alterations aim to attract more highly skilled professionals to European countries, including Germany, which should provide an answer for labour and skills shortages within the EU labour market. Overall, the goal of these new EU Blue Card rules and other changes and policies will strengthen the EU's competitiveness and future-proof the bloc to provide for further economic growth.
Once the Directive on the new rules has been adopted, EU Member States will have two years to transpose the changes into their own national law and their own regulations around the EU Blue Card.
The new EU Blue Card rule changes also demonstrate the weaknesses present in the original implementation of the scheme. Such weaknesses include restrictive admission conditions, different rules, conditions and procedures across the bloc and limited facilitation for intra-EU mobility. These weaknesses and the manner in which the scheme was implemented in some countries has limited its usage in several European countries.
Germany has proven to be the most popular destination for EU Blue Card applicants, and our experienced immigration law team have overseen our global clients' applications. Allow our lawyers to prepare and oversee your paperwork, assess any legal dispute you may be involved in or provide expert advice on how these new EU Blue Card rules may impact your EU Blue Card application.
New EU Blue Card Rules – In Detail
These are the new EU Blue Card rules that, if adopted, EU Member States will have two years to bring into their national law.
- Flexible requirements: To make it more accessible to applicants, the salary threshold for the EU Blue Card will be reduced to between 1 and 1.6 times the average gross annual salary. Additionally, the minimum duration for a contract of employment will also be reduced to 6 months.
- Changing position or employer: Greater flexibility will be provided for in these areas. During the first 12 months, EU Blue Card holders need only to complete a new labour market test if they wish to change position or employer. It will only be after this period that the cardholder may need to notify relevant authorities concerning the change of employer or position.
- Qualifications and skills equivalency: Proving that skills and qualifications are equivalent has proven to be challenging in the past. The new rules to be introduced aim to facilitate the recognition of professional skills, particularly for jobs in the information and communication technologies sector. There will also be application opportunities for certain professionals with experience equivalent to qualifications.
- Family reunification: Family members of EU Blue Cardholders will be able to accompany them to the European country and access the EU labour market. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our immigration law experts advise on all matters relating to family reunification in Germany. Contact us directly for further advice or support on cases concerning this matter.
- Intra-EU mobility: The new EU Blue Card rules aim to simplify mobility rules within the EU for EU Blue Card holders and their family members. The new rules aim to apply after 12 months of employment in the first Member State. Moving between jobs in different Member States can be a complicated issue, which the rule changes aim to make more straightforward. By considering the time spent working in different Member States, the rule changes aim to provide cardholders with access to long-term and permanent resident status.
The proposed changes to the EU Blue Card rules are part of the overall European migration policy. This policy aims to attract more highly qualified professionals to European Union Member States. Other parts of that policy include Talent Partnerships with third countries and mobility schemes for employment and training between countries. However, until these changes are formally introduced, Germany's current EU Blue Card rules will persist.
Background and Purpose of the Rule Changes
These new EU Blue Card rules have been considered to introduce more flexible requirements for highly skilled workers from outside the EU to come to EU member states. It will also ensure that there is more straightforward movement for such EU Blue Cardholders between different EU member states, that they will have greater rights and more flexibility for them in the workplace. The European Union operates in a competitive market in attracting the best talent to the bloc, and the considerations relating to updating the EU Blue Card reflect this reality.
The EU Blue Card reform was proposed in 2016, and the new EU Blue Card rules are coming into place to reflect the weaknesses identified in the initial scheme. Since the EU Blue Card was introduced, it has proven to be popular as a means of moving to Germany but has been less successfully implemented in other countries. The reform aims to future-proof Europe's economic growth in light of an ageing population and to help them in the fallout of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Some of the weaknesses identified in the original plan around issues such as the changing of employer and movement between member states placed additional burdens and challenges on employers and applicants.
The EU Blue Card in Germany
The EU Blue Card allows its holder to live and work in Germany for a 4-year period. To apply for the card, the applicant needs to be offered a job in Germany that meets the salary requirements. These salary requirements change on a yearly basis, and they vary for positions that are considered as "in-demand". These positions with job shortages include scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors and IT-skilled professionals. The EU Blue Card can be renewed, but it is also possible for EU Blue Cardholders to become permanent residents in Germany after 33 months in the country. It is also possible after 21 months if they fulfil the German language requirements by demonstrated that they have a B1 standard of German.
The EU Blue Card provides greater certainty to third-country professionals moving to Germany, and it creates a pathway to German permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. It is unnecessary to demonstrate knowledge of the German language in applying for this residence permit, and many high-paying positions in Germany only require English. EU Blue Card holders are protected by German employment law and cannot be treated in any detrimental or unequal manner compared to their German counterparts.
The EU Blue Card: Our Areas of Expertise
Germany has proven to be one of the most popular destinations for EU Blue Card applicants. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal team is here to advise on all matters concerning the residence permit. Our German visa lawyers will oversee your application and assist you on matters such as changing employers, extending an EU Blue Card, moving country with an EU Blue Card, spouse reunification and gaining German citizenship by naturalization. Our German immigration lawyers assist in all migration and residence permit issues and assist both private and business clients.
From our offices in Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf and our conference room facilities across Germany, the lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte advise global clients in English, German and a range of other languages.
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