On 25th May, the European Council adopted a directive aimed at facilitating conditions of entry and residence in the EU of third-country citizens for the purpose of highly qualified employment.
The directive establishes more attractive conditions for third-country workers to take up highly qualified employment in the member states of the EU, by creating a fast-track procedure for issuing a special residence and work permit called the "EU Blue Card".
The Blue Card will facilitate holder’s access to the labour market and entitle them to a series of socio-economic rights and favourable conditions for family reunification and movement across the EU.
The period of validity of the EU Blue Card will be between one and four years, with the possibility of renewal. A Blue Card may also be issued or renewed for smaller periods in order to cover the work contract plus three months.
Under the rules set by the directive, EU Blue Card holders will enjoy equal treatment with EU citizens, as regards:
– working conditions, including pay and dismissal;
– freedom of association;
– education, training and recognition of qualifications;
– a number of provisions of national law regarding social security and pensions;
– access to goods and services, including procedures for obtaining housing, information and counselling services; and
– free access to the entire territory of the member state concerned within the limits provided for by national law.
After eighteen months of legal residence in the first member state, an EU Blue Card holder and his family members may move, under certain conditions, to another member state.
Following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the member states will have two years to incorporate the new provisions into their domestic legislation.
For the full text of the directive go to: