Brussels 25 May 2009.
Council of European Union adopts the “EU Blue Card”, which they say will be more advantageous for high-skilled foreign workers.
The Council has adopted a directive (10266/09) aimed at facilitating more attractive conditions of entry and residence in the EU of third-country (non-EU) citizens for the purpose of highly qualified employment.
The directive establishes conditions for third-country workers to take up highly qualified employment in the member states of the Union, by creating a fast-track procedure for issuing a special residence and work permit called the “EU Blue Card”.
The Blue Card will facilitate access to the labour market to their holders and will entitle them to a series of socio-economic rights and favourable conditions for family reunification and movement across the EU.
The directive determines the common criteria to be set by the EU member states for applicants of the Blue Card without prejudice to more advantageous conditions provided for by national laws.
The period of validity of the EU Blue Card will be comprised between one and four years, with possibility of renewal. A Blue Card may also be issued or renewed for smaller periods in order to cover the work contract period plus three months.
After eighteen months of legal residence in the first member state as an EU Blue Card holder, the person concerned and his family members may move, under certain conditions, to a member state other than the first member state for the purpose of highly qualified employment.
Under the rules set by the directive, EU Blue Card holders will enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the member state issuing the Blue Card, as regards:
- working conditions, including pay and dismissal
- freedom of association
- education, training and recognition of qualifications
- a number of provisions in national law regarding social security and pensions
- access to goods and services, including procedures for obtaining housing, information and counselling services
- free access to the entire territory of the member state concerned within the limits provided for by national law
Following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the member states, apart from United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark, will have two years to incorporate the new provisions into their domestic legislation.
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