Sunday

9th Aug 2020

EU to overhaul 'Blue Card' work permit for migrants

  • The EU is keen to overhaul its "blue card" system to attract skilled migrants to come and work in the bloc. (Photo: Tax Credits)

The EU is keen to overhaul its "blue card" system to attract skilled migrants to come and work in the bloc amid fears of the long-term economic consequences of a population that is living longer and having fewer children.

"Europe's member states have a difficult period in front of them in terms of the jobs market. Europe's working population is going to decrease so [it] needs legal immigration," said EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (13 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Some 12,854 blue cards were issued in the EU in 2013, the vast majority by Germany (Photo: Paolo Margari)

The Blue Card system, granting special residency rights and a work permit, is designed to attract highly-skilled migrants to Europe. But the system - meant to be implemented in all member states by 2011 - has not had widespread take-up.

According to Eurostat figures, 12,854 Blue Cards were issued in the EU in 2013. Of these, the vast majority (11,580) were issued in Germany. France, as the next in the rankings, awarded 371 blue cards and Spain handed out 313.

Meanwhile, Sweden, Greece, Cyprus and Austria issued none while Belgium, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Finland handed out five each or fewer.

The commission has said it wants to "overhaul and modernise" the system, noting that Europe's economy is "increasingly dependent on high-skilled jobs" and migration is needed for "sustainable growth".

The Blue Card reform is part of a four-pronged migration strategy launched Wednesday (13 May) in response to a political and legal system that is ill-equipped to deal with the thousands of migrants trying to come to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

The push for more "legal migration" comes as figures show that the EU's population is expected to peak at 526 million - up from the current 507 million - in 2050 and then start declining, reaching 523 million 10 years later.

By 2060, there is expected to be about two working-aged people for every person over 65, down from four at the moment.

While the UK is expected to be the most populous state (80 million) by 2060, and Belgium's population is set for a 40-percent increase, other countries are heading for a large population decrease, such as Lithuania with an almost 40-percent decline.

Age-related expenditure will account for 30 percent of GDP in countries such as Malta, the Netherlands and Slovenia and as much as 34 percent in Finland.

The commission is set to launch a public discussion on the Blue Card in the coming weeks but it has already indicated what kind of proposals it wants to make, including formalising a dialogue with business and industry to find out what kind of skills are needed and putting more money toward integration policies.

It also moots setting up an "expression of interest" platform which would use a set of criteria to "automatically make an initial selection of potential migrants".

A further step meant to help migrants is final agreement on updated rules to make remittance payments easier and more secure.

EU to ease access for skilled migrants

EU planning to revive its US-type scheme for admitting skilled workers from overseas, underlies that ageing EU societies need young foreigners.

News in Brief

  1. Germany breached rights of Madeleine McCann suspect
  2. EU offers trade perks to Lebanon
  3. Germany charges ex-Audi chiefs on emissions cheating
  4. UK quarantines Belgium, as European infections climb
  5. Bulgaria's Borissov mulls resignation
  6. EU prolongs anti-dumping duties on Chinese steel
  7. Swedish economy contracted less during April to June
  8. EU offers help to Lebanon after port explosion

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU wary of violence in Belarus election
  2. Iraqis paid €2,000 each agree to leave Greece
  3. EU's most sustainable islands are Danish 'Sunshine Islands'
  4. Worrying rows over future EU chemicals policy
  5. Rainbow flag protesters charged by Polish police
  6. An open letter to the EPP on end of Hungary's press freedom
  7. Renew Europe has a plan to combat gender-violence
  8. Why EU beats US on green pandemic recovery

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us