The European Union (EU) Blue Card

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Author/Key Contact: Sabina Kauser

What is an EU Blue Card?

Skilled workers from non-EU countries who want to work in EU countries and meet the educational and employment rules can apply for an EU Blue Card if they have secured employment or have a job offer in the EU country.

Is the UK considered a part of the EU countries for the purpose of the EU Blue Card?

No, the UK is not a part of the EU Blue Card initiative. The UK’s equivalent of this permit is the Skilled Worker Visa.

What are the benefits of an EU Blue Card?

Holders of the EU Blue Card can:

  • Travel without restrictions within the EU.
  • Benefit from the same working conditions and pay as the national residents of the EU country of employment
  • Apply for dependants to join them in the EU country and be able to work.
  • Obtain rights for permanent residency.
  • Benefit from the same academic, healthcare, and economic rights as the nationals of the EU country they work in.
  • After 12 months, individuals can relocate to a different EU country (if the Applicant can meet the EU Blue Card requirements of that country).

Who can qualify for an EU Blue Card?

Highly skilled workers from non-EU countries can apply for an EU Blue Card. Applicants are categorised as highly skilled workers if they can meet the requirements below:

  • They have completed a higher education course of at least 3 years, for example, an Undergraduate degree, Postgraduate degree or, or PhD.
  • They have at least five years of experience in their field of skilled work.
  • Have an employment contract or job offer for a highly skilled job in the EU country.
  • They have a gross salary of a minimum of 1.5 times the national average of the EU country where they will work.
  • They have a health insurance policy in place for themselves and family members who will be accompanying them.
  • Applicants cannot be self-employed or freelance workers.

How can individuals apply for an EU Blue Card?

To apply for an EU Blue Card, applicants must pre-book an appointment at the relevant EU country’s embassy/consulate in their country of residence. Some of the consulates allow for the applications to be made online. All applicants must have a job offer for skilled work from an EU employer prior to starting the application process in addition to other documentary requirements.

The application process may differ depending on the EU country for which the blue card is being sought.

How can applicants find work that would qualify for an EU Blue Card?

Whilst applicants are free to find jobs on recruitment websites or platforms in the country they wish to work in, Applicants can look for work in the EU through EURES, which is the European Job Mobility Portal. Job searches can be filtered to find employment in particular sectors and locations.

What is the processing time for an EU Blue Card application?

Usually, the maximum processing time for an EU Blue Card is 90 days, however, the timeline may differ depending on the EU country processing the application.

How long is an EU Blue Card valid for?

An EU Blue Card is valid between 1 to 4 years plus three months. The card is usually issued for the duration of the applicant’s employment contract. The maximum time a Blue Card is issued for is 4 years, but it can be extended if the employment contract is extended.

When an EU Blue Card expires, applicants can stay in the EU country for a further three months to extend the visa or seek new employment and apply for a new card. Where applicants apply for an extension, they will be permitted to continue to live in the EU country while the application is being processed.

Can EU cardholders change employment?

EU Blue Card holders cannot change employment within the first two years of receiving the EU Blue Card without having to apply for a new card. These requirements may slightly differ from one EU country to another.

What if the employment comes to an end?

If you lose your job while you are in the EU with a Blue Card, you are allowed to stay for three months in the country to look for another job. If you don’t find a job within this time period, then the EU Blue Card will expire, and applicants will be required to leave the country.

How can we help you?

Contact one of our specialist immigration lawyers today to obtain further information about which EU countries are signed up to the EU Blue Card regulations, the documents required to support an application, and the fees and process involved.

Are you a non-EU national or UK national interested in working in a European country? Acuity Law has an experienced team of lawyers who are waiting to take your call and assist you with all your immigration inquiries. Get in touch with our Immigration team today for further information.

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