In tough economic times, the European Union has moved to lure highly-qualified and skilled migrant workers into the bloc.
“The Blue Card” scheme will offer candidates speedier work permits, help them find public housing and acquire long-term resident status.
Agreed to in principle by envoys in Brussels today, it is set to be endorsed by EU ministers in the weeks ahead.
Valid for a maximum of four years, The Blue Card is a bid to compete with the US Green Card. But it will be more restrictive.
For example, after 18 months of working with a Blue Card in one EU country, an immigrant would be allowed to move with their family to work in
another member state. But he or she would still have to apply for a new Blue Card there within a month of arrival.
The provision was required by countries determined to maintain national sovereignty over their labour market, such as Germany. But it means, in the view of some analysts, that the scheme does not go far enough to achieving Brussels’ objectives.