It has been reported today that Ireland and some other EU countries like the UK & Denmark may not vote to approve the EU’s new program, called the Blue Card (after the EU flag colour) visa work system. It is planned that it will be based on the US Green Card system. Ireland already has a Green Card system in place, see www.greencard.ie. It’s aim is to attract more skilled labourers to live within the 27-country bloc and fill 20 million jobs in the next 20 years.
Blue card holders and their families would be able to live, work and travel within the EU. The EU said the proposal is meant to bring in more immigrants with skills in the engineering and computer technology sector in particular. Another aim is to compete with the U.S. for some of the best brains in the world, the BBC reports.
European Commissioner for Justice Franco Frattini, who is pushing the proposal, said that only five per cent of all skilled labour migrates to the EU while more than half goes to the U.S.
The plan has reportedly been met with some controversy over fears that it could trigger brain drains in poorer countries. The U.K., Denmark and Ireland may opt out of the plan, Reuters reported.
Below are some key points of the proposal plan:
- The employer will have to prove the job cannot be filled by an EU citizen.
- Applicants must have a job offer of at least a one-year contract and be qualified to fill the post.
- The work contract must offer a wage that is at least triple the minimum wage in the country where the job is to be located.
- The blue card would remain valid as long as the holder has a job. If the holder loses his or her job, it remains valid for up to three months of unemployment.
- Blue card holders will have the same social and employment rights as EU citizens, as well as the right to bring in families. They can also move to any other EU country if they find a new job there after two years of legal residence in the first member state.
- They would be treated like EU nationals for tax benefits and pensions payment when moving to another country.