The European and the German economy are dependent on highly qualified personnel from abroad. Particularly in fields such as digitalisation or highly specialised cutting-edge research, there is a shortage of qualified personnel. Therefore, it was necessary to find a regulatory European solution to this problem. The answer was the EU Blue Card, which is a residence permit similar to the US Green Card. The colour blue is intended to symbolise the blue European flag.
What is the EU Blue Card?
This blue chip card is an official document that serves as evidence of a residence permit for highly qualified professionals from abroad and is valid throughout the EU. It i s also issued by the other EU member states. However, the requirements for gaining an EU Blue Card may differ between the respective countries.
How do you obtain the EU Blue Card?
In the following, we will explain the requirements for applying for an EU Blue Card in Germany. The applicable rules can be found in section18b II of the German Residence Act (AufenthG).
The EU Blue Card is usually only awarded to skilled workers with a university education. No further approval from the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) is required for this. Skilled workers with a university education are professionals from abroad who have obtained a university degree.
In addition, the EU Blue Card is awarded for the purpose of employment appropriate for the skilled worker’s qualifications. This means that the highly qualified skilled worker is to work in the very profession in which he or she obtained his or her university degree. So, for example, the holder of a degree in computer science should work as a programmer and not as a waiter. As evidence of this, an employment contract or a binding job commitment must be submitted. Moreover, an EU Blue Card can only be successfully applied for by earners of an annual salary of currently at least €55,200 (gross) according to section 18b para. (2) s. 1 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG). In professions where there are great shortages, such as in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine, the minimum annual salary is slightly lower – currently €43,056 (gross). However, skilled workers in these professions require the approval of the Federal Employment Agency in accordance with section 18b para. (2) sentence 3 of the German Residence Act.
No evidence of specific German language skills is required, however.
In addition, some general requirements still need to be met. Thus, the EU Blue Card is only awarded if
- The worker’s livelihood is secured
- His or her identity has been established
- He or she has a passport
- He or she entered Germany on a visa
- The above information was already provided in the visa application
- And there is no interest in expulsion
The EU Blue Card is not awarded to the groups of persons listed in section 19f of the German Residence Act, such as refugees or seasonal workers.
Where can you obtain the EU Blue Card?
You must apply for the EU Blue Card with the local foreign citizens’ authority. If you entered Germany on a visa, you must apply for the EU Blue Card before the expiry date of the visa. If no visa is required for your entry into Germany (USA, Canada, Japan, etc.), you must apply for the EU Blue Card before you start working.
How long is the EU Blue Card valid?
According to section 18 para. (4) sentence 2 of the German Residence Act the EU Blue Card is valid for the duration of the employment contract plus an extra 3 months. It is extended if the employment contract is for less than 4 years.
With an EU Blue Card, it is also easier to obtain a permanent settlement permit in Germany. It also makes it easier in the context of the subsequent immigration of family members, for the spouse to obtain a residence permit in Germany, for example, as he or she will not have to provide evidence of German language skills either.
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