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The proposal for a new European Blue Card has been adopted: Directive (EU) 2021/1883 of the European Parliament and of the Council ‘on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment, and repealing Council Directive 2009/50/EC’.
The aim of the new Directive is to simplify the procedures and qualifying criteria, and to widen the scope and to strengthen the rights of EU Blue Card holders and their families.
The Member States must implement the new EU Blue Card Directive ultiimately 18 November 2023 into their national legislation.
The European Commission has drafted a proposal because the current EU Blue Card scheme (Directive 2009/50/EC), adopted in 2009, has proven insufficient and unattractive so far.
According the European Commission the European Union should aim to establish a more attractive and effective European Union wide scheme for highly qualified workers from third countries.
- The length of the work contract is reduced to 6 months from 12 months.
- Time that needs to be spent in the first Member State before obtaining permission to reside in another Member State is shortened to 12 months from 18 months.
- Blue Card holders are able to work for up to 90 days in other Member States without having to obtain a work permit from that other Member State.
- The new standard validity period of the Blue Card will become at least 24 months (was 12 months), or will be the length of the contract plus three months.
- A renewal of the EU Blue Card is issued for at least 24 months.
- A decision on the EU Blue Card should be received within 60 days (from 90 days).
- The decision period to receive the EU Blue Card is a maximum of 30 days for 'recognised employers'.
- The salary threshold for applicants has been reduced to at least 100 % and not more than 160 % of the average gross annual salary in the member state of employment. Under the current scheme the threshold is 150 % minimum with no upper limit.
- The EU Blue Card makes it mandatory for Member States to recognise professional experience as an alternative to higher education qualifications: Three years of work experience in the past seven years will apply instead of a diploma for applicants that will work in the ICT.
- Holders of an EU Blue Card are allowed to exercise a self-employed activity in addition to the profession of their Blue Card.
- Years of residence may be transferred to another Member State if the last 2 years of the 5 years have been spent in the EU with a Blue card.
- EU long-term resident who is a former Blue card holder may stay outside the EU for 2 years.
Ireland and Denmark will not apply the new Blue Card Directive. These countries also did not adopt the current EU Blue Card Directive.
Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment COM/2016/0378 final - 2016/0176 (COD) 15 September 2021
European Parliament research service brief on the revision of the EU Blue Card Directive
European Parliament press release on the revised EU Blue Card 15 September 2021
Committee press release on revised EU Blue Card 3 June 2021