EU approves special residence, work permit scheme for foreignersMay 26th, 2009 - 6:40 am ICT by IANS
Brussels, May 26 (IANS) The European Union (EU) has approved a special residence and work permit scheme for qualified third-country citizens for the purpose of employment in Europe.
The Blue Card will facilitate access to the labour market to their holders and will entitle them to a series of socio-economic rights and favourable conditions for family reunification and movement across the 27-member block, the EuAsiaNews said Monday.
The EU Council of Ministers said in a statement that the Blue Card holders will enjoy equal treatment with nationals of EU member states, as regards to the working conditions, including pay and dismissal, freedom of association, and education, training and recognition of qualifications.
The card holder will also have access to the provisions in national law regarding social security and pensions, goods and services, including procedures for obtaining housing, information and counselling services, and free access to the entire territory of the concerned EU member state within the limits provided for by the national law.
The period of validity of the EU Blue Card will be between one and four years, with the possibility of renewal.
The EU member states will have two years to incorporate the new provisions into their domestic legislation. The Council also passed new rules against employers who hire illegal foreign immigrants. These include making it mandatory for employers to ensure that non-EU workers hold a valid residence permit.
Businesses that violate the new rules would have to pay fines, which would increase according to the number of illegally employed foreigners, and also pay the return costs of the illegal worker if he or she is sent back home. They will also be excluded from accessing public funds or taking part in public tenders in the EU.
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