What is the EU Blue Card? Who is eligible for it? Where can I get it?
EU Blue Cards are issued by EU member states to third-country nationals. The holder of an EU Blue Card is entitled to take up residence in the EU for the purpose of taking up gainful employment.
The legal basis for the EU Blue Card is Council Directive 2009/50/EC. The EU Blue Card is designed particularly to attract highly qualified third-country nationals to jobs in occupations where there is a shortage of qualified personnel or where a shortage is likely to arise in future.
From 1 August 2012 on the EU Blue Card will be the main residence permit for university graduates from abroad. It is a simple and unbureaucratic procedure geared to third-country nationals keen to put their talents to use in Germany.
Applicants must furnish proof that they have a university degree and have been offered a job that would provide gross annual earnings for at least 46.400 euros (2013).
The previous rule requiring a minimum salary more than 20,000 euros higher has been abolished. The EU Blue Card has made the German labour market more attractive also for young people starting out on their careers. In occupations where jobs vacancies for e.g. doctors and engineers cannot be filled due to a shortage of qualified personnel applicants need a job offer providing gross annual earnings in the order of only 36.192 euros. To prevent abuse, in such cases the authorities will check the terms and conditions of the job offer with respect to working hours and salary.
The EU Blue Card offers special privileges to immigrants and their families. The prospect of obtaining permanent resident status at an early stage encourages would-be applicants to plan their long-term future in Germany. After three years of residence, Blue Card holders are eligible for a settlement permit. Those who prove they have good German language skills may be granted a settlement permit after just two years.
In Germany the EU Blue Card can be obtained only from the foreigners offices. Third-country nationals who are eligible for the EU Blue Card and require a visa to enter Germany will be issued a national visa for the purpose of taking up gainful employment. Once in Germany, their local foreigners office will issue them the EU Clue Card.
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