- More flexible criteria for admission: a valid work contract or binding job offer of at least six months
- Lower threshold for minimum salary that applicants must earn in order to qualify
- Expanding the rights of beneficiaries with simplified intra-EU mobility and faster family reunification procedures
MEPs today agreed to the reform of the EU Blue Card paving the way for enlarging the scope of its application to facilitate the employment of highly qualified non-EU nationals.
The Civil Liberties Committee has endorsed the agreement reached with the Council with 52 votes in favour, 7 votes against and 4 abstentions.
Under the newly agreed rules, applicants - who will be able to apply also from within the EU territory - will need to present a work contract or a binding job offer of a minimum of six months. Currently, an offer of minimum 12 months is required, as well as evidence of their higher qualifications or professional skills. The salary threshold for applicants has been reduced to at least 100 % but not more than 160 % of the average gross annual salary in the member state of employment. This figure is currently at least 150 % with no upper limit.
Draft directive foresees new opportunities for highly skilled beneficiaries of international protection, who will be able to apply for an EU Blue Card also in members states other than those where they received protection status. Also in certain cases, for example in the information and communication technology sector, qualifications can be replaced with relevant professional experience.
The EU Blue Card holders will be able to move more easily from one EU member state to another after an initial 12-month period in the first member state. The situation of accompanying family members will also be improved through faster reunification procedures and access to the labour market.
After the Committee vote, the rapporteur Javier MORENO SÁNCHEZ (S&D, ES) said:
“The reform of the Blue Card Directive is an important result that gives a positive signal in the right direction: Europe, in parallel to the fight against irregular immigration, must increase the legal forms of migration and, above all, facilitate the arrival of qualified workers who can contribute to the development of our continent. And the new Blue Card will be a very attractive and effective tool both for workers from third countries and for the European economies and societies.”
The text will have to be approved by both the plenary and the Council and published in the Official Journal before it can enter into force. Member states will then have a two-year period to adapt their national legislation to bring it in line with the directive.