Legal migration: Council adopts blue card directive to attract highly-qualified workers

The Council today adopted a directive establishing the entry and residence conditions for highly-qualified non-EU nationals coming to live and work in the EU (the blue card directive). This EU-wide admission system aims to attract and retain highly-qualified workers, particularly in sectors facing skills shortages.

To stimulate our economic growth and make the most of our green and digital transformation we need to be able to attract the best talent. The blue card will consolidate the EU’s position as a top global destination for highly-qualified workers, with the flexibility, mobility and family reunification opportunities it provides.

Aleš Hojs, Minister for the Interior of Slovenia

The new rules, which will replace the existing ones, further harmonise the conditions of entry and residence for highly-qualified workers and increase the attractiveness of the EU blue card. In particular, they establish more inclusive admission criteria, facilitate intra-EU mobility and family reunification, simplify procedures for recognised employers, grant a very high level of access to the labour market and extend the scope to include non-EU family members of EU citizens and beneficiaries of international protection.

EU member states will be able to maintain national schemes aimed at highly-qualified workers in parallel with the EU blue card scheme. However, the new rules will introduce a number of provisions to ensure a level playing field so that EU blue card holders and their families are not at a disadvantage compared to holders of national permits.

The adopted text will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal. Member states will then have two years to bring into force the necessary laws to comply with this directive.