Proposals to repeal EU Blue Card Directive amended in committee of EU parliament23 June 2017
A European Commission proposal to repeal the Blue Card Directive on highly skilled workers is being amended in the European Parliament. On 15 June 2017, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee voted to back changes to the proposed new Directive. The European Parliament’s revision of the Report on the Conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment, was drafted and steered through committee by Claude Moraes MEP. The committee vote passed by 45 in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions. It will now move to plenary for a final MEP vote, in parallel with discussions in the Council.
The revised Blue Card scheme aims to improve the EU’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled third country nationals via faster, simpler and more inclusive access to Member States’ labour markets, facilitating mobility within the EU and increasing rights for the beneficiaries. The revision, which would replace national schemes, is in response to the poor uptake of the Blue Card and the continued demand for highly skilled employees.
With regards to family members, the initial Commission proposal retained the right of Blue Card families to access employment but introduced the possibility for Member States to carry out a labour market check before granting access. MEPs have now voted to remove the reference to a labour market check. MEPs also made further improvements, for example, reducing the processing time for applications to 30 days for both employees and family members in normal circumstances. MEPs also agreed with the Commission that third-country national family members of EU citizens already living in the European Union should be eligible for a Blue Card if they wish to make business trips or take highly skilled employment in different Member States, whether or not the EU citizen accompanies them.
Speaking after the vote, Permits Foundation Executive Director Michiel van Campen said, “With the generally disappointing uptake of the current Blue Card scheme, we welcome the attention that MEPs have given to ensuring that guaranteed family access to employment remains and is facilitated in the revised proposal. We know from our own extensive surveys that this issue is a deciding factor in attracting and retaining talent.”
The revised Blue Card proposal must now be approved by the European Parliament as a whole and by EU governments at Council level before it is finally adopted. During the negotiations that follow, we expect questions by some Member States and employers around the abolition of national schemes, especially where aspects of existing programmes at are more attractive than the Blue Card proposals.
Permits Foundation supports the EU parliament’s proposed amendments that help Blue Card families to move to and work in the EU. We have been in contact with leading MEPs and we will continue to work with EU legislators and our sponsors over the coming months on both the family clauses and any broader questions, including the precedence over national schemes.
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The final Report as adopted in LIBE Committee will be made available in this EU legislative tracker
The Permits Foundation letter to MEPs ahead of the vote in committee