The EU blue card is a term you must have come across once or twice in your search for the best immigration destination.
The EU blue card is a work permit issued in the European Union which allows qualified workers with an educational degree from outside the region live and work in the countries which issue it.
The proposal for the EU blue card was first made in 2007 and it was meant to mitigate a future lack of labour and skills in the EU given the aging population as well as streamline mobility for workers who come from outside the EU .
It was called the Blue Card as it is meant to be the EU’s answer to the American issued Green card.
Supporting legislation for the blue card was passed mid-2009 and the blue cards are currently issued by 25 out of 27 member states of the Union with the exception of Denmark and Ireland
Countries which adopted and issue the Blue Card are follows: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Blue cards are not issued to everyone and as such there are fixed criteria an applicant must meet in order to be considered for one:
1. The Blue card is not issued to entrepreneurs or the self-employed so applicant must be a paid employee or must have a job offer or work contract in an EU country valid for at least 1 year.
2. Salary must be at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary in the Country where the application is being made from.
3. Applicants must have higher professional qualifications 3 years of Higher Education or 5 years of work experience in the field.
4. Applicant must have necessary travel documents and health insurance. An applicants who successfully get a blue card is required to stay at the same job for at least 2 years and is not allowed to work in any other EU country than the issuing one for the first 18 months.
If you lose your job within the first three months of getting your Blue Card, you would have three months to get another job or you would have to leave the region.
The EU Blue Card is usually issued for a period of three years but it can be issued for periods of less than that but more than one year.
You are given three months after your Blue Card expires to extend it and you are meant to provide a copy of your older Blue Card while applying for renewal.
How to find eligible jobs for the Blue card.
There are various places where you can search for jobs that can give you a blue card in the EU one of which is this website Shortage Jobs.
you can visit the job search page and use filters to show only new jobs.
You can also use the European job mobility portal(EURES) to view vacancies as well as tips on how to apply for jobs and life in the EU.
Benefits you can get with a Blue card.
While this doesn’t make you a citizen of the country are resident in, there are a lot of benefits you can get being a holder of the Blue card and some of them are;
- Free movement to all EU countries
- Equal salaries and working conditions with citizens
- Right to live with family
- Right to a permanent residency if terms are fulfilled as well as all social rights and benefits for citizens except loans houses and grants.
As a bonus, Blue card holders can return to their home countries or travel to any country outside the EU for a maximum of 12 months without losing the card or privileges are attached to it.
Applying for a Blue card
The maximum application processing time for issuing an EU Blue Card is 90 days and the process differs slightly from one country to the other.
Countries would usually set a limit per year of Blue cards that can be issued and applications can either be done at the relevant embassy or consulate or online depending on the country.
In some countries, the application is done by the employee while in others, it is done by the employer and the application fee is €140 while renewals cost €100.
Getting permanent residency as a Blue card holder.
It is understandable, sometimes you live in a country so long you fall in love with their weather, food, culture or maybe someone living there.
All of a sudden, the three years on your permit will seem too small and you might want to spend the rest of your life in or at least regularly visiting the country.
Applying for permanent residency while holding a Blue card can be done after 33 months of working in the first country applied through or after 21 months if your language proficiency is of level B1 or over.
Apart from that, if you gain 5 years of experience from working in various EU States it will make your permanent residency application easier.