The US has its Green Card enabling foreigners to live and work there – well now the European Union is set to have its own “Blue Card”. In a bid to plug labour shortages caused by a declining and ageing population and to reverse the drain of skilled foreign migrants to the US, the card will give residential and employment rights to qualified workers from outside the European Union.
Franco Frattini, Commissioner for Immigration: “In the same time, we promote mobility of people legally getting jobs, in the same time we promote closer cooperation with the origin countries.” The card would permit skilled workers to enter the EU for two years and to move to work in a second member state after that. But some think the move is moving the goal posts:
German MEP Andreas Schwab: “I think that Commissioner Frattini is right in his report of Europe’s demographic problems.
But I do not believe that it is necessary today to change the rules of immigration, it is not the way forward for Europe and won’t solve the demographic problems within the European Union.”
Some think migration should remain a matter for individual states but currently 85 percent of unskilled third world workers seek jobs in the union with only 5% being skilled labour. That contrasts with 55% of skilled migrants entering the US.