The revised EU-wide plan aims to attract highly skilled workers to Europe, particularly in sectors facing a skills shortage. Under the updated rules, non-EU candidates must submit a work contract or employer offer that is valid for at least six months, or prove their professional qualifications or knowledge, in place of the current one-year contract or one-year offer. Those eligible for international protection can also apply for a Blue Card. Certain types of professional knowledge will also be demonstrated by appropriate work experience, for example in areas such as information technology or communications.
EU Blue Card holders are free to move to another member state after at least one year in the issuing country.
The family reunification process will be faster and family members will be able to start working faster. The new rules also introduce a number of provisions to ensure equal opportunity so that EU Blue Card holders and their family members are not at a disadvantage compared to nationally licensed workers.
The EU Blue Card Directive has been in place since 2009, but the EU says the system needs reform because it has not attracted enough labor to Europe. After approval by the Council of the European Union, member states have two years to align their legislation with the Directive.
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