The EU Blue Card Directive (Council Directive 2009/50/EC) of 25 May 2009 was adopted to facilitate the admission and mobility of highly qualified migrants and their families from non-EU countries.

This Directive, applicable in the EU (except for the UK, Ireland and Denmark) shall meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in Europe, e.g. engineers and IT specialists.

In Germany, the Transposition Act for the Blue Card Directive came into force on 1 August 2012 and resulted in the EU Blue Card as new residence title (Sec. 19a of the German Residence Act). European Commission statistics point to wide variations between member states in the number of Blue Cards granted, and by far the most Blue Cards have been granted in Germany:

2012: 2,584, app. 70% of all Blue Cards

2013: at least 14,197, app.90% of all Blue Cards

To successfully apply for a Blue Card in Germany, one must meet general admission conditions such as submitting completed application forms, a valid passport and biometric photo, health insurance protection, proof of a housing lease contract and local registration.

Three preconditions must also be met:

  • applicants must provide proof of having completed higher education. If not acquired in Germany, it needs to be recognised or comparable to a German qualification
  • applicants must provide proof of a specific job offer or present a pre-existing/signed employment contract
  • the job offer or contract must include a specific minimum gross annual salary.

If the minimum gross salary (€48,400) threshold is satisfied, the Blue Card does not require Federal Employment Agency approval according to Sec. 2 sub. 1 no. 2 (a) of the German Employment Ordinance.

Sec. 2 sub. 2 stipulates a regulation for jobs where there is a shortage of applicants. Applicants who cannot enter Germany on a visa-free basis have to apply for a visa for the purpose of employment. A tourist visa is not sufficient.

The EU Blue Card is a temporary right of residence and can facilitate the granting of a permanent residence permit afterwards. In establishing the Blue Card for highly qualified migrants and employers, the European Commission is working to meet its objective to make the European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.