3rd Mar 2024

EU commission proposes Green Card scheme

The EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini has proposed that highly qualified foreign migrants should have the possibility to apply for Europe-wide work permits, allowing them to look for jobs anywhere in the European Union.

A European US-style Green Card issued by one EU member state would be valid in any of the other member states, and would not be attached to any specific job sector or employer, writes The Daily Telegraph.

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  • The Commission is proposing a green light for certain economic migrants (Photo: Kevin Connors)

The commission hopes that the green card system will encourage the influx of immigrants with special skills needed in the EU.

In January this year, the commission called for a new scheme to fast-track economic migrants into the European labour market, with a rapidly ageing workforce causing concern for a future shortage of skilled workers.

The particular sectors in which shortages have been reported are notably IT, health services and construction.

An additional 10 to 20 million workers will be needed between 2010 and 2030 to tackle such a shortage, and holes cannot be filled only by workers from the new member states, experts say.

Proposed by Franco Frattini, a two tier immigration scheme to regulate migration could tackle the problem: a permanent green card system for highly qualified workers and a temporary work permit system for low skilled migrants.

Mr Frattini has also stated that he believes an EU Green Card system will reduce the number of people trying to enter the EU via the 'backdoor', and pliug the flow of illegal migrants.

However, past attempts to agree common immigration standards have boiled down to disputes on immigrant quotas.

On 27 October, a Parliament vote showed that MEPs were in favour of measures to promote economic migration, but that each member state should decide on the number of immigrants to allow. The idea of a Green Card was rejected by MEPs.

Justice commissioner Frattini will unveil a "road map" towards a common EU approach to legal migration, including proposals for legislation, on 21 December.

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