The European Blue Card is an increasingly popular immigration option for those seeking to work and live in the European Union. It is a residence permit issued to non-EU citizens that allows them to live and work in any EU member state for a period of up to two years. The Blue Card provides numerous benefits, including increased job security and protection from discrimination. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the European Blue Card and how it can benefit those looking for a new start in the EU.

What is the European Blue Card?

The European Blue Card is a residence permit that allows highly qualified non-EU citizens to work and live in any country of the European Union (EU). It was introduced in 2009 as an alternative to traditional national residence permits, allowing holders to move and work freely within EU member states. The Blue Card is aimed at filling skill shortages in the EU workforce by encouraging people from outside the EU to move and work in Europe.

The card was introduced by Directive 2009/50/EC, commonly known as the ‘Blue Card Directive’. It is a residence permit that offers greater rights than other types of EU residence permits, such as the right to move and work freely in other EU member states without needing to apply for separate permits. The European Blue Card provides access to the same labor rights and social security as nationals of EU countries. It also offers protection against discrimination, ensuring that third-country workers are paid the same salary as nationals for comparable jobs. 

The Blue Card offers some key advantages to those looking to work and live in the EU. It allows qualified professionals to move and take up employment quickly, offering freedom of movement and job security in an increasingly competitive global economy. With a valid Blue Card, individuals are allowed to bring their family members with them and enjoy many of the same benefits as their host country’s citizens.

Purpose and benefits of the European Blue Card

The purpose of the European Blue Card is to create an easier path for highly skilled individuals from outside of the European Union (EU) to live and work in a EU member state. The card, valid for four years, grants the holder a range of benefits, including the right to live and work in any EU member state, except Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, for up to two years.

Benefits of the European Blue Card include:

– Easier access to the labor market in a EU member state for those with the appropriate qualifications;

– Longer residency rights than other residence permits, with a maximum stay of four years;

– Easier recognition of qualifications and experience gained in other countries;

– A streamlined application process for international graduates;

– Access to social security benefits;

– The possibility to bring family members to join the applicant in the EU.

In addition, holders of the European Blue Card may apply for permanent residence after three years and may eventually be eligible for citizenship in their host country.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for the European Blue Card is quite strict and requires certain qualifications in order to be accepted. The basic criteria that must be met in order to be eligible for a European Blue Card are:

1. You must have a valid work contract with an employer located in an EU member state.

2. You must have a recognized university degree or equivalent qualification.

3. You must prove that you have sufficient means of subsistence (financial).

4. You must prove that you have health insurance cover.

5. You must not have a criminal record in the EU member state where you are applying for the card.

6. You must be able to demonstrate that you will not become a burden on the public welfare system of the host country. 

Additionally, different EU member states may have additional requirements for eligibility, such as language proficiency or knowledge of the local culture. Therefore, it is important to check with the relevant authorities for specific requirements in the host country before applying for the European Blue Card.

 

Recognised Qualification

The European Blue Card is a residence permit that allows foreign nationals to live and work in any EU Member State. In order to be eligible for the card, you must hold an appropriate qualification in an occupation that is on the European Union’s list of eligible occupations. 

Qualifications must come from an education institution or a training program recognized in an EU Member State. In some cases, qualification gained outside the EU can be accepted as long as they are equivalent to the standards of the EU Member State. 

It is important to note that there are certain qualifications that will not be accepted for the European Blue Card. These include qualifications obtained from employers, vocational training certificates, and non-formal education programs. 

Additionally, you must have a valid job offer from an EU employer and demonstrate that your salary meets the minimum wage requirements of the country you are applying to. The salary level must also meet the minimum wage requirements for the same occupation in the country you are applying to.

Income requirements (Minimum Salary Threshold for the EU Blue Card in 2022)

The income requirements for the European Blue Card are based on the minimum wage and cost of living in each individual Member State. In 2021, the EU Blue Card will remain valid with an annual gross salary of at least €53,704 (or its equivalent in the national currency of the respective Member State).

In 2022, the salary threshold for the European Blue Card will be adjusted and increased to a minimum of €54,622. It is important to note that some Member States have higher salary thresholds for certain sectors or occupations and there can also be regional variations within a country.

The income requirement applies to all applicants who wish to apply for an EU Blue Card. This means that in order to qualify for an EU Blue Card, applicants must earn a minimum salary as specified by their host country’s immigration authorities. This also applies to those who are currently employed in their host country, as well as to those who are self-employed or wish to become self-employed in the EU.

In addition to meeting the income requirements, applicants must also provide evidence of their professional qualifications and education level. Depending on the profession they wish to pursue, they may need to demonstrate their professional qualifications with additional documents such as certificates and diplomas.

Language proficiency

Language proficiency is one of the most important factors when it comes to being eligible for the European Blue Card. The European Union requires that applicants must be proficient in the language of the member state they intend to work in. This can be demonstrated by an official language certificate or by passing a language proficiency test.

Applicants must show they can communicate effectively in the language of the country they want to work in. Depending on the country, the level of proficiency needed may vary. For example, some countries require at least B2 level proficiency, while others may require higher levels such as C1 or C2. 

Language certificates or tests can come from many different sources and are usually accepted by employers. These include Cambridge English Qualifications, TestDaF, Euroexam, TOEFL and IELTS. 

In addition, applicants must also demonstrate knowledge of the relevant culture and country. To do this, they must take an integration course which will provide them with information about the culture, economy and legal system of the country they intend to live in. 

The language requirement may be waived if applicants have higher education qualifications obtained in an EU member state.

Other specific requirements

The European Blue Card also requires some additional specific requirements to be met by applicants. This includes having a valid travel document, such as a passport or national identity card. Applicants must also have signed and valid health insurance covering all medical expenses in the EU country where they are applying for the card. 

It is also important to note that any criminal convictions may affect an applicant’s eligibility for a European Blue Card. Depending on the severity of the conviction, applicants may be subject to certain restrictions and/or be denied a residence permit altogether. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the language of the host country, to enable them to communicate in daily life situations. 

Finally, applicants must provide proof that they have adequate financial resources, to cover their living costs during the period of stay in the host country. This could include cash savings, assets or income from other sources.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Application process

The application process for a European Blue Card (EBC) is similar to that for other types of residence permits within the European Union. All applications must be made at the relevant embassy, consulate or other appropriate authority in the applicant’s home country.

Applicants must provide proof of identity, nationality and their professional qualifications, as well as evidence that they meet the minimum income requirements and language proficiency standards. A complete list of required documents and supporting materials can be found on the relevant authority’s website.

The fee for the application varies depending on the country. In some cases, it is possible to obtain a partial or full refund of the application fee if the application is unsuccessful. The processing time is usually around six weeks, although this may vary depending on the country and local authority.

Once an applicant has been approved, they will be issued with a European Blue Card which allows them to live and work in any EU member state. The card is valid for up to four years and can be renewed or extended as needed. An extension application should be made to the same authority that issued the card before the current one expires.

Renewing a European Blue Card requires that all of the same conditions are met as when first applying for the card. This includes proof of identity, nationality and qualifications, as well as evidence of meeting the minimum salary threshold and language proficiency requirements. The renewal application should be made at least three months before the current card expires, and processing times may take up to two months.

Renewal and extension process

The European Blue Card is initially valid for a period of up to four years. After this, it can be renewed if you are still eligible and wish to continue working in the EU. To renew or extend your card, you will need to apply to the relevant authority in the country where you are residing. 

The process for renewal and extension depends on the country where you live. Generally, you will need to show that you are still eligible for the card by submitting evidence such as your work contract and payslips. You may also need to prove that you have maintained your education or qualification level and have sufficient income. 

In some cases, you may need to provide additional documents such as a medical certificate or a police certificate. The renewal process can take several months to complete, so it is important to start the application process well before your current card expires. 

Once your application has been approved, you will receive a new card with an updated validity period. Your new card will be valid until the date specified on it or until the expiration of your current residence permit, whichever comes first. 

The process of renewing or extending your European Blue Card is relatively straightforward, but it is important to make sure you start the application process in good time so that your current card does not expire before a decision is made.

Rights and Obligations

The European Blue Card is designed to allow qualified third-country nationals to work and live in the European Union. With the card, holders are given a range of rights and obligations depending on the country they are living in.

Generally speaking, holders of a European Blue Card have the right to:

• Work in the EU

• Access social security and health insurance

• Receive equal pay as national workers

• Travel visa-free in certain countries

• Bring family members with them

• Obtain permanent residence status after a certain period of time

At the same time, holders of a European Blue Card have certain obligations. These include:

• Respecting the laws and regulations of the country they are residing in

• Having sufficient health insurance

• Paying taxes and social security contributions

• Notifying their respective immigration authorities if their employment or residence status changes 

• Submitting a renewal application before the expiry date of their card

• Providing evidence of their continued eligibility for the card when renewing it

Obligations of European Blue Card holders (Integration Agreement)

The European Blue Card comes with a range of obligations for holders to fulfil. These are set out in the Integration Agreement, which is an agreement between the holder and the government of the host country. The agreement is designed to ensure that holders of the European Blue Card integrate into the country and abide by local laws and regulations.

Under the terms of the Integration Agreement, the holder must: 

– Respect the laws, customs and values of their host country

– Participate in language and civic courses 

– Attend integration classes to become familiar with the culture, history, economy and political system of their host country 

– Work legally and fulfill all the requirements of their job 

– Abide by all applicable labour laws 

– Pay taxes 

– Register for health insurance, if required by their host country 

– Attend regular meetings with an Integration Officer to discuss their progress 

Failure to comply with these obligations can result in revocation or non-renewal of the European Blue Card.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Work and residence rights for holders of a European Blue Card (Where Can I Work With an EU Blue Card)

Holders of the European Blue Card have the right to live and work in any of the EU member states. The cardholder is free to choose which country they would like to work in, as long as they fulfill all the necessary requirements. 

The right to work in an EU member state is granted for a period of up to three years and may be extended for two more years, if certain conditions are met. During this period, the holder of the European Blue Card can move freely from one country to another within the EU, as long as they keep their employment status. 

The residence rights of a European Blue Card holder are also fairly generous. The holder is allowed to live and remain in an EU member state for the entire duration of their residence permit. They may also travel to other Schengen area countries for 90 days within a 180 day period. 

Furthermore, if an applicant meets all the requirements, their family members (spouse/partner and dependent children) are also eligible for a residence permit, allowing them to reside and work in the same EU country as the cardholder.

Family reunification rights (How can my family join me in applying for the EU Blue Card)

The EU Blue Card allows family members of the card holder to join them in the country where they are working. This includes spouses and children who are under 21. This can be done through the application of a residence permit for dependent family members, which allows them to stay in the same country as the card holder for the same length of time.

To apply for this residence permit, family members must provide evidence that they have a relationship with the card holder, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate. They also need to provide evidence that they are financially dependent on the card holder and evidence of accommodation. In addition, they will need to provide an up-to-date criminal record check.

Once all documents have been submitted, the residence permit application is usually processed within two months. Once approved, the family members will receive a residence permit valid for the same length of time as the card holder’s EU Blue Card. This residence permit can then be used to travel between member states within the European Union.

Health care and social security benefits

Holders of the European Blue Card have access to health care and social security benefits in their host country. The same rights and entitlements apply to holders of the European Blue Card as to other members of society with permanent residence status. 

Health care benefits include access to state-funded medical treatment, including emergency treatment, hospital stays, maternity care, and rehabilitation services. Health care benefits also include access to state-funded health insurance programs and to subsidized prescriptions drugs. 

For social security, holders of a European Blue Card have access to unemployment benefits, pension benefits, and other social assistance programs. They also have access to family allowances and other benefits for dependent family members. 

In addition to health care and social security benefits, holders of a European Blue Card can also enjoy the right to freedom of movement within their host country and across the European Union, allowing them to travel and work in any of the countries without any restrictions or extra paperwork.

Comparison with other types of EU Residence permits

When considering which type of EU residence permit to apply for, it is important to compare the different types of permits and understand the key differences between them. The European Blue Card offers advantages and disadvantages compared to other EU residence permits. 

The main difference between the European Blue Card and other EU residence permits is that the European Blue Card is specifically designed for highly qualified third-country nationals. It provides holders with preferential access to the EU labor market. The European Blue Card also allows highly qualified third-country nationals to remain in an EU member state for up to five years, with the possibility of extending their stay if they are able to obtain another job within the same country. 

In comparison, the Single Permit Directive offers a uniform residence and work permit valid throughout the EU, with no need for the holder to apply separately in each country. The Single Permit Directive also offers holders more freedom of movement within the EU than the European Blue Card. On the other hand, the Single Permit Directive does not provide preferential access to the EU labor market like the European Blue Card does. 

The Long-Term Residence Permit is another type of EU residence permit that offers holders longer residence rights than the European Blue Card. With a Long-Term Residence Permit, holders can remain in an EU member state for an indefinite period of time. However, this type of permit does not offer preferential access to the EU labor market or freedom of movement within the EU like the European Blue Card or Single Permit Directive do. 

Overall, when comparing these different types of EU residence permits, it is clear that the European Blue Card offers several advantages over other permits, such as preferential access to the EU labor market and longer residence rights. For highly qualified third-country nationals seeking to work in an EU member state, the European Blue Card is a good option to consider.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Additional Information

EU Countries Not Issuing the EU Blue Card: The UK and Ireland are not part of the EU Blue Card scheme, so their citizens are not eligible to apply for the card. However, citizens from other non-EU countries such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein may be eligible to apply. 

Who Needs an EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is for highly skilled non-EU nationals who have a job offer in an EU Member State that pays at least 1.5 times the average salary in the country where the job offer is located. 

EU Blue Card Validity: The validity of the EU Blue Card is generally between one and four years, depending on the national law of the Member State where the card was issued.

What Can You Do With as an EU Blue Card Holder: As an EU Blue Card holder, you can work and reside in any other EU Member State, provided you meet certain criteria. The criteria may include an employment contract with a specific duration, a minimum salary threshold, language proficiency, and recognition of qualifications. 

EU Blue Card Rejection Reasons: A rejection of an EU Blue Card application may occur if the applicant has not met the requirements such as providing evidence of a valid employment contract, meeting the minimum salary threshold, proving sufficient language proficiency, or failing to provide a valid residence permit. 

Can I get permanent residency through the EU Blue Card: No, you cannot get permanent residency through the EU Blue Card. It is intended for highly skilled workers for a limited time period. However, after five years of continuous legal stay in an EU Member State, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. 

What happens if I lose my current job while an EU Blue Card holder: If you lose your job while holding an EU Blue Card, you must notify the relevant immigration authority immediately. You may also be required to leave the country within a certain period of time unless you find another suitable job or are able to show that you can support yourself financially.

Conclusion

The European Blue Card is a great opportunity for foreign nationals looking to work in an EU country. It provides them with many benefits such as the right to work, access to social security, healthcare and education. Furthermore, they also have the right to reunify their family and obtain long-term residence permits. However, there are certain eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to be eligible for the European Blue Card. These include educational and professional qualifications, language proficiency, income requirements, and other specific requirements. Moreover, the application process is quite lengthy and involves a variety of documents which must be submitted. Despite this, the European Blue Card is still a great option for those looking to live and work in the EU.

 

How we can help

CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make immigration and global mobility seamless. It is designed specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants globally.

Visit cgmpartners.org.uk/register for more information.

European Blue Card FAQ’s

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