The European Union wants to attract highly qualified workers. And with this objective, the European Parliament has voted on a series of measures aimed at updating the Blue Card Directive.
Among the sectors where there is more demand, health stands out, as well as information and communication technologies.
“The most visible sector is technology, and it is also the one specifically mentioned in the directive including some specific rights. But I would say that this is a cross-sector issue. We need better access for highly qualified professionals, regardless of the sector”, explains Martin Jefflen, President of Eurocadres.
The Blue Card was introduced in 2009. It is a work and residence permit, thanks to which highly qualified non-EU citizens can access job offers in the European Union.
And one of the main reasons for its existence is the decline in the working-age population. In 2016 there were 333 million, and it is estimated that in 2070 there will be 292 million.
These are some of the changes that have been made to the directive:
– a lower salary threshold,
– an employment contract valid for at least six months, instead of twelve,
– the possibility for refugees and asylum seekers already in the EU to access the program,
– allow family members to join the Blue Card holder and look for work
– and the possibility of moving within the EU to look for another job after twelve months.
By facilitating admission criteria and strengthening the rights of holders, MEPs hope to make the Blue Card more attractive.
But Jo Antoons, a Belgian lawyer specializing in recruiting highly skilled workers, says the best way to attract talent would be for Member States to work together. “The most important thing is that we are able to become the destination of choice for talent. This will allow us to compete with other regions of the world and bring the best possible talent to Europe. And this can only be achieved if we look at Europe as a whole and not as individual Member States, “he explains from his office at Fragomen Global LLP.
France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland together issued 75% of the permits registered in 2019. But other countries such as Denmark and Ireland preferred to remain on the sidelines.
Now MEPs hope that the new rules will encourage more Member States to use the Blue Card.