highly qualified workers visa

Highly Qualified Workers Visa/Blue Card Visa Information

There are twenty-eight countries in the European Union (EU). For highly qualified individuals, in order to get an EU work permit they should apply for an EU blue card. Foreigners who want to work and live in a country that is a member of the EU use the blue employment card. Twenty-five of the EU countries accept the card. The card is not in use in the UK, Ireland, or Denmark. Countries that do not accept the blue card have different policies and procedures for highly qualified workers.

Eligibility

Qualification for the EU blue employment card is achievable for those with an advanced university degree and/or five years or more job experience in a professional capacity. The blue card is an EU work permit that covers only employed workers. It is not suitable for entrepreneurs or those who are self-employed. For professions فاشف require a license, the applicant under this program must meet all the legal licensing requirements.

An applicant for this type of EU work permit also must have an employment offer from a qualified company in an EU country that pays a higher salary than the average salary of the country where the job will be performed. The higher salary for a qualified worker must be at least one and a half times the average salary in the EU country. The contract of employment must be for at least one year.

Family Members Permitted/Health Insurance Required

A foreign worker under this program could bring along family members. There must be a health insurance policy in place. The policy must be with a legally registered insurance company that has a license to offer insurance in the EU country of the work location. The health insurance policy must cover the foreign worker and all the accompanying family members.

EU Country Regulations Also Apply

The highly qualified worker program for the EU is in addition to the country regulations of each specific EU country that participates in the program. The EU blue employment card does not substitute for any EU country’s regulations.

A worker may need a long-stay visa and/or a resident permit and work permit for the specific EU country where they wish to work, in addition to the blue card. Each country on the EU Immigration Portal’s interactive map has slightly different rules. The summaries are available by clicking on the map or by searching on the same webpage.

For example, selecting Italy from the map and choosing the highly qualified worker section, gives this information:

  • Highly qualified workers are not subject to the limitation of immigrant quotas.
  • An Employer/Sponsor submits a proposal of the contract for residence to Italy’s Immigration department at the Single Desk for this found at the “Prefettura” of the province where the job is located.
  • The worker must have a visa before entering Italy.
  • Within eight days after arrival in Italy, the worker must apply for a permit of residence.
  • Permission to stay in Italy is for the length of the work contract plus three months, up to a maximum of two years. After two years, a foreign worker must re-apply.

For comparison, in Romania, the rules are quite different:

  • An employer must get an authorization for a highly qualified worker by submitting information, on the worker’s behalf, to the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration. The information needed is the proof about an individual’s university education and professional experience.
  • The worker must obtain a long-stay visa that permits working in Romania.
  • The salary for the foreign highly qualified worker must be four times the average national salary.
  • The EU blue employment card serves as both a residence and work permit for the length of the employment contract plus three months, up to a maximum time of two years and three months.

These are just two examples, chosen to highlight the significant differences between the rules and regulations of different EU countries in respect to the blue employment card and its use. Every non-EU person who intends to work in the EU needs to check with the appropriate authorities of the country of the work location, in order to learn about a specific country’s regulations.

Benefits of the EU Blue Card

Some benefits of the card occur across the entire EU in all EU countries.

These benefits include equal treatment with the citizens of the EU country regarding:

  • Access to public goods and services, such as public transport, restaurants, and museums
  • Conditions of work
  • Continued education and/or on-the-job training
  • Recognition of qualifications and university degrees
  • Social Security benefits
  • Unlimited exit and re-entry from an EU country
  • Ability to stay in other EU countries for up to three months during a six month period

It is easier to achieve long-term status as a resident of an EU country, when a person has the blue employment card. The residence time required to gain permanent resident status is the total of the time spent in all EU countries, not just the time spent in a single one.

Depending on the EU country, it is possible to change jobs/employers after the first two years. If a person with a blue employment card becomes unemployed for any reason, he or she has up to three months to find another job. The job must be in the same category as the previous job held.

It is possible after 18 months to request permission to move to another EU country and continue working in a highly skilled job. This requires applying for a new EU blue employment card from the new country.

Revocation of the EU Blue Card

A person may lose the blue employment card if they fail to meet the conditions required to have one. Revocation of the card may occur at any time, if there is a discovery of false information in the application or the use of fake documents. Additionally, the host EU country has the right to determine if the person is a threat to public health, public policy, or national security.

Overstaying the period permitted for the blue employment card means a person may be required to leave the EU country and denial of the blue employment card in the future.

Any adverse decision that affects a worker with a blue employment card is appealable to the national authorities of the host EU country.

Summary

The highly qualified worker program of the EU blue employment card makes it easier for foreign workers to come to Europe to fill these desirable positions. The European Commission prepared a report of the success of the EU blue employment card program. The issuance of the cards started towards the end of 2012. In 2012, EU members issued 3,664 cards. During 2013, this number increased to 15,261. Eurostat shows that the issuance of cards in 2014 was 13,852.

The EU blue employment card offers a convenient way for those highly qualified immigrant workers to have more rights and freedom of movement in the EU, while they enjoy their employment in Europe.

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