Thursday

17th Aug 2017

'Blue card' to attract top talent from outside EU

As part of efforts to fulfil Europe's need for highly-qualified workers, Brussels is set to issue an EU-wide work permit allowing employment to non-Europeans, in any country within the 27-nation bloc, EU home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini said in an interview with EUobserver.

The idea of an EU work permit – dubbed the 'blue card' after the colour of the European Union flag – is to be formally tabled in September.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU blue card idea has been inspired by the US green card programme (Photo: Notat)

Mr Frattini hopes it will make Europe a more attractive work destination than the US, Canada or Australia and cut down on the severe labour shortages facing the bloc due to its aging population and declining birth rates.

"It is up to me - up to Europe - to promote and encourage highly-skilled migrants to come, if needed and where needed", Mr Frattini said. He added he would also suggest the "possibility of intra-EU movement" under certain conditions.

Under the plan, an Indian doctor working in a Belgian hospital, for example, would be allowed to move to another EU member state after an initial period of two years, if he found legal employment there. He could subsequently move to another member state after another year.

In addition, the card will enable a specialist to return to their home country and to re-enter EU territory after four or five years, without having to start all the administrative procedures from scratch.

Brussels believes this could prevent foreign immigrants from outstaying their welcome in Europe, as well as counter the devastating effect of "brain drain" from the world's developing countries.

"The blue card is not a permanent card like the American green card", the EU commissioner said.

The card "will make it possible to encourage highly-skilled workers to come and to avoid brain draining at the same time," he added.

Until now, migration has proved to be a highly sensitive issue within the bloc, but Mr Frattini believes there may be "broad consensus" among EU capitals, as they will maintain control over their labour markets.

"I am offering a simplified procedure, facilitating the access of people who are needed...but it is up to each member state to determine how many [non-European] experts they need", he said.

"While member states are particularly reluctant concerning low-skilled or seasonal workers, they are very keen to attract highly-skilled migrants – engineers, doctors, researchers", he concluded.

According to commission estimates, labour shortages will peak by 2050 when 25 million Europeans are expected to retire from work and one-third of the population will be over 65 years of age.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

Europeans more optimistic about EU since Brexit vote

Perceptions of the EU have increased significantly in France, and Europeans generally feel more optimistic about the future of the bloc since last autumn - despite Brexit and a surge in populism.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides