Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

'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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • 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.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  2. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  3. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  4. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  5. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  6. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?
  7. EU commission has first-ever woman president
  8. Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us