Many countries offer international students the option to stay and gain work experience after finishing their degrees. Additionally, a significant population of international students prefers to study in a foreign country that also provides friendly policies for getting permanent residency. In Europe, the EU Blue Card is a talent-attracting scheme that leads to potential permanent residency in the EU. In this article, we will look at the overview of the EU Blue Card and its eligibility & requirements.
What is EU Blue Card?
Over two decades ago the Lisbon European Council set up a Community with the objective of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world – an economy with better jobs, more job opportunities, greater cohesion, and a steady and sustainable economic growth.
Seven years later in October 2007, the European Council adopted two proposals:
- To establish a Framework Directive which allows educated and skilled migrants to the EU. This was later known as the EU Blue Card directive and was adopted in May 2009.
- To simplify migration procedures by screening applicants through a single application procedure. This single permit directive was adopted in December 2011.
Policy Changes in 2021
Since the working-age population in the EU is constantly dropping, major implications will be felt on its labor force. The working-age population of the EU is expected to drop from 333 million in 2016 to 292 million by 2070.
So, EU countries are making changes to attract more highly-skilled workers.
The main objective of the EU Blue Card program is to establish Europe as an attractive destination for non-European professionals. This is a ‘merit-based program, unlike ‘point-based’ for other western nations. If a person has adequate education or possesses few sought-after skills, through professional experience, then s/he is eligible to apply for the EU Blue Card. This is Europe’s answer to US’ Green Card.
EU Blue Card Benefits
The best part of having an EU Blue Card is that it offers mobility across all its member states, once you have stayed for 18 months in the country you have applied for the EU Blue Card. For any kind of highly qualified employment, the card-holder may move to a different state with his / her family, if need be.
Once a holder has stayed for 5 years in a certain country, s/he can accumulate periods of residence in the different Member States.
Having received the EU Blue Card, the holder:
- may stay in the territory of countries outside the EU for one year (without losing a card) for tourism, leisure, training;
- can travel to other countries of the Schengen area for up to 90 days, within 180 days as a tourist;
- may apply for a family reunion. The spouse gets the opportunity to simplify the process of moving: to receive a residence permit in conjunction with a work permit, but without providing contact with the employer and knowledge of the language;
- receives rights under equal working conditions and wages on a par with citizens of European Union countries;
- can apply for permanent residence by the end of 21 months if the requirements are met. For example, in Germany, you can apply for permanent residence in case you have worked in a highly qualified post for more than 33 months and have sufficient knowledge of the German language (level B1).
EU Blue Card Countries
25 out of 27 European countries come under the EU Blue Card program. These countries are:
Member states that have opted out of the EU Blue Card Directive and as a result do not issue the EU Blue Card are:
Other states in the European Union not issuing the EU Blue Card are the EFTA member states:
EU Blue Card Eligibility & Requirements
Highly qualified non-European professionals can have the right to live and work in a European country provided they have a university degree and an employment contract of at least a year. If your salary is higher than the average in a particular EU nation, then there are chances of you being eligible for an EU Blue Card.
The employee and the employer are both required to submit an application for the EU Blue Card to the authorities of that particular nation you’ve applied to work. Depending on the regulations of that country, the applicant might have to pay a fee.
Salary Requirements (Top Countries)
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The other requirements can be enumerated as below:
- If necessary, you need to prove that you have a higher qualification; a University degree, for that matter. A few member states might as well accept a minimum of five years of experience in the relevant field.
- You must be a salaried employee. EU Blue Card is not applicable to entrepreneurs or self-employed individuals.
- You must present a job contract, for at least one year.
- Your annual gross salary needs to be at least one and half times more than the average salary of the rest of those in that particular country you’re applying to.
- Go the legal way – fulfil all legal formalities regarding the profession you are applying for in a particular nation.
- Have a health insurance for yourself and / or for the person whos’ traveling with you.
- Keep all the necessary travel documents.
EU Blue Card Germany
Germany is a hot favorite destination for international students. Apart from academic and job market reasons, Germany has also a relaxed immigration policy for highly-skilled international graduates and professionals.
Germany issues EU Blue Card to individuals who have a German degree and those who are highly skilled. It is a work cum residence permit that allows professionals to work in a project that either has future prospects, or where there is an employee shortage. The permit, initially, is for four years, post which, it can be extended if requirements are met.
People usually apply for a German visa first, through the German Consulate. This is just to show the immigration authorities that you have legally moved into the country. However, within three months, the person must apply for the EU Blue Card.
The minimum salary threshold in Germany in 2022 is €56,400 per year. For employee shortage occupations, the minimum threshold salary is €44,304 per annum.
Validity of the German EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is valid for the duration of your work contract plus 3 months. It is not issued for longer than four years, but you can apply for a German settlement permit after 33 months of residence. Once you are a settled resident, you can stay in Germany indefinitely.
If you can prove your knowledge of the German language is on at least a B1 level, you can get a settlement permit after only 21 months of residing and working in Germany.
Employee Shortage Occupations for EU Blue Card in Germany
Germany provides EU Blue card to the following set of nationals:
- Highly qualified workers
- Seasonal workers
- Vocational trainees
- Intra-corporate transferees
List of Employee Shortage Professions in Germany
- Physical, mathematical and engineering science professionals
- Statisticians and related professionals
- Computing professionals
- Engineers and related professionals
- Information and Communication Technology Professionals
- Systems Analysts
- Software Developers
- Web and Multimedia Developers
- Applications Programmers
- Database and Network Professionals
- Database Designers and Administrators
- Systems Administrators
- Computer Network Professionals
EU Blue Card in Germany Required Documents
You’ll need the following documents when you’re submitting your application for a German EU Blue Card
- Passport – it must contain relevant entry stamp or visa, to make sure that you’ve entered Germany legally.
- Recent biometric picture
- Academic qualifications–all original certificates required, along with application.
- Job offer or work contract – the original work contract / job offer is required. This must state your designation and your exact salary.
- Application form for a residence permit – you are required to fill out this form completely and put your signature at the end. The form can be downloaded from the website of the local immigration authorities or can be picked up by the applicant.
- Proof of primary residence in Germany – register your address at the local residents’ registration office first, and then submit the residence certificate.
- Health insurance proof – you need to have a German health insurance. Health insurance from any other country is not accepted.
- Approval of German Federal Employment Agency – required only if the salary is below €56,400 annually
- Birth / marriage certificate/s – if you are moving in with your family
Featured Image Source: Schengen Visa Info News