EU parliament gives green light to ‘Blue Card’ scheme

November 20th, 2008 - 11:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Nov 20 (IANS) The European Parliament (EP) Thursday gave its support to the European Union’s ‘Blue Card’ scheme to attract highly-skilled workers from non-EU countries to take jobs in the 27-member bloc. The scheme, modelled on the US ‘Green Card’ system, was adopted in the EP’s plenary session in the French city of Strasbourg with 388 votes in favour, 56 against and 124 abstentions, EuAsiaNews reported.

To obtain the Blue Card, an applicant must have found a job in the EU, and have at least five years’ experience in the sector concerned or a university qualification recognised by an EU member state.

The applicant’s contract must guarantee an income of at least 1.7 times the average gross salary in the EU country of residence.

The Blue Card will also entitle its holder to family reunification within six months - his or her spouse would also be able to seek a job in the EU - and to social welfare coverage in the EU member state concerned.

A card holder who loses his or her job would have six months to find another job, the EP said.

EU member states would decide how many Blue Cards they wish to grant each year.

It also says that EU states should not actively encourage the “brain draining” of third world countries through the Blue Card in sectors such as health and education where these countries suffer from labour shortage.

Britain and Ireland have decided not to participate in the Blue Card scheme.

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