Key parts of the EU's proposed Blue Card work visa plan
The Associated Press
Published: October 23, 2007
The European Union's top immigration official presented plans Tuesday to introduce an EU-wide “Blue Card” work visa system meant to attract highly skilled migrants to the 27-nation bloc to fill growing labor shortages. Here are details of key proposals in the plan, which is modeled after the U.S. “Green Card” work visa.
_ A SINGLE, FAST TRACK PROCEDURE: Applicants from non-EU countries will enjoy the benefit of a single work and residence permit application to be admitted to the EU country where they want to work, instead of the current, numerous and complex 27 different national applications. Blue Cards will have to be processed within a 30 to a maximum 90-day period.
_ BLUE CARD REQUIREMENTS: Workers applying for the Blue Card will have to have in hand a job offer for a minimum one year contract and the needed qualifications and experience to fill the post. The employer will have to prove that the job cannot be filled by an EU citizen. The work contract will also have offer to the applicant a wage which is at least three times the level of the national minimum wage in the country where the job is located.
_ BOLSTERED RIGHTS FOR BLUE CARD HOLDERS: Migrants who hold a Blue Card visa will enjoy added rights as non-EU nationals, enjoying an equal level of social and employment rights as EU citizens, as well as the right to bring in families. They will also be eventually allowed to move to any other EU country if they find a new job there that meets the Blue Card requirements after two years of legal residence in the first member state. The Blue Card would remain valid as long as the holder has a job.
_ WHO WILL ISSUE BLUE CARDS: The plan leaves it up to national governments to administer and decide on the visa applications. They will also have the right to set national quotas for how many visas they issue per year.
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