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EU Blue Card

Thursday 22 May 2014
News from EU institutions

The EU Blue Card scheme provides a way for highly qualified people from outside of the European Union to work and reside in an EU country. Although the UK, Ireland and Denmark did not join the scheme, all other EU member states were obliged to do so. Variable picture in how member states have regarded the scheme. 

The scheme provides a way for highly qualified third-country nationals to work and reside in an EU country. Although the UK, Ireland and Denmark did not join the scheme, all other EU member states were obliged to transpose the Directive on this (2009/50/EC) into national legislation. The European Commission reported in May on how the scheme was performing.

Despite the European Commission having to start infringement proceedings against 20 member states for not introducing national legislation on Blue Cards by June 2011, all participating countries have now done so. But statistics on the number of Cards issued show a mixed picture. In 2012 a total of 3,664 Blue Cards were granted, with a further 1,107 family members of Blue Card holders admitted to the EU. 70% of these were issued by one country, Germany, with Spain next with 13% and then Lithuania with 5%. Emerging figures for 2013 show that Germany issued 14,197 Blue Cards last year. At the bottom of the scale was Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Malta who did not issue any Cards, Netherlands and Hungary one each, and Poland, Portugal and Finland each having issued two Blue Cards each. 

The greater proportion of Blue cards were issued to highly qualified migrants from Asia, with India then China the top countries of origin. 

The figures for 2012 are skewed by not all countries having introduced a Blue Card scheme for the full year, and by the policies of countries. Some have competing national schemes, for example The Netherlands issued 5,514 national permits compared to one Blue Card. Some member states have unwelcoming policies towards migrants in general.


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