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EU Greenlights Blue Card for Skilled Migrants

Date: 27.05.2009

The European Union has approved a new Blue card worker visa program, which aims to make it easier for skilled workers from outside the EU to get jobs in Europe.

The Blue EU Labour Card, which has been inspired by the US Green card and takes its name from the EU flag, envisages to entitle highly qualified third country nationals to various rights in any of the EU nations, and later permit them to work in a second member state under certain conditions.

"Highly skilled migration into Europe increases our competitiveness and economic growth," the EU's justice and home affairs commissioner, Jacques Barrot, said on Monday. "Such migrants are always welcome in the EU."

The visa will be valid for up to four years and can be renewed for the length of the work contract. It offers the possibility for the visa holder to bring in family members to join him or her in the EU country where the job is located and will receive the same benefits as the cardholder, depending on national rules.

Those who get a Blue card would have the right to social and other employment benefits enjoyed by EU citizens and would, after an initial two-year freeze, be able to move to another EU state if they find a job there.

It would be left up to national authorities to decide how many EU work visas to issue under the plan.

Those approved under the visa would also be offered wages at least 1.5 times more than the average gross annual salary in the country they will work in.

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