The European Parliament has announced last week that MEPs are about to give their final approval to the new changes made on the European Blue Card initiative in order to attract more qualified workers from outside the EU.
Back in May of this year, the European Parliament and the Council presidency representatives reached a provisional agreement to review the rules for skilled workers who live in third countries, which made it easier for EU employers to hire people from elsewhere.
“The revised directive on entry and residence conditions foresees more flexible criteria, including a lower threshold for the minimum salary that applicants must earn in order to qualify. It also expands the rights of beneficiaries to make it easier to move within the EU and be reunited with family faster,” the statement of the EU Parliament reads.
According to a press release issued by the Parliament, since the working-age population in the EU is constantly dropping, major implications will be felt on its labour force. The working-age population of the EU is expected to drop from 333 million in 2016 to 292 million by 2070.
Consequently, the Parliament will vote on the reform of the blue card system today, September 13, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The new changes that are to be made to the Blue Card system would allow applicants to provide a valid work contract of at least six months instead of the current requirement, which asks for a 12-month valid contract.
In addition, in order to make the system accessible to more people, especially for recent graduates and professions in need of workers, the salary threshold will be reduced between one and 1.6 times from the average gross annual salary in the respective Member State.
The holder of the Blue Card will also be able to move more easily to another EU Member State only one year after working in the country in which they first settled. Apart from that, they will be able to be accompanied by their family members since the new update has set more simplified conditions to bring families together.
At the same time, it has been revealed that the newly updated rules will benefit asylum seekers and refugees who currently live in the EU. In line with the new rules, they will be allowed to apply for a Blue Card in other EU countries.
“By lowering the criteria for admission and strengthening the rights of Blue Cardholders and their families, Parliament hopes to increase the attractiveness of the EU Blue Card,” the Parliament added.
Even though the Parliament plans on making such changes, EU countries are always allowed to refuse renewing applications for a Blue Card if it’s proved that the holder is a threat to public security.
Previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that Germany had granted 30,200 visas to highly qualified specialists and trainees from third countries.