Germany and the European Blue Card Scheme

Posted on: 20.06.2013    07:04:03

The German Foreign Office announced that it would accept applications for the EU Blue Card, from the beginning of August 2012. The European Blue Card was introduced in 2009. Its objective is to attract highly-skilled immigrants into the European Union to alleviate existing and anticipated skills shortages.

The EU Blue Card is similar to highly skilled immigration programs utilised by the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. The scheme is available in all EU countries except Denmark, UK and Ireland.

Since 2009 EU countries have been implementing the Blue Card in line with the requirements of their own labour market.

It is estimated that over 10,000 cards have been issued in Germany. The numbers are lower than expected for two reasons.

  1. The toughness of the entry requirements
  2. Increased influx of EU citizens

The Blue Card criteria calls for applicants to:

  • Hold a Bachelor Degree from a recognised University
  • Must have current a job offer from a German employer
  • Generate an annual salary of at least 45,000 EUR per year (gross)
  • A working knowledge of the German language

For professional fields in which there is a labour shortage such as engineering, healthcare and IT the minimum salary is set at 35,000 EUR per year (gross)

Once in Germany the following rules apply:

  • All Blue Card holders are eligible for permanent work and residence permits after three years of continuous residence, if they have a job contract.
  • Provided the Blue Card holder has an excellent understanding of the German language they can apply for a permanent work and residence permit after two years.
  • Spouses and other family members may receive residence permits regardless of their language knowledge.

The German Foreign Office aims to process all Blue Card applications within two weeks. However, we hear this process is taking more time due to a shortage of trained staff.

New services are springing up to assist with the provision of candidates eligible to work with a Blue Card. European Recruitment Agencies are linking up with suppliers to provide a service across the applicable countries of the European Union as well as Switzerland and Norway. This includes arranging foreign language training in the home countries.

With exclusive partnership arrangements we are concentrating on supplying three areas, (we welcome employer enquiries from any European Union country):

  • Healthcare
  • IT
  • Engineering

Global competition to alleviate skills shortages will only accelerate into the future. It will be a case of the survival of the fittest that are prepared to migrate as required.

Author: Chris Slay

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