Commission presents Action Plan on Integration and reforms 'Blue Card' scheme for highly skilled workers from outside the EU

The Action Plan aims at supporting Member States in the integration of third-country nationals and their economic and social contribution to the EU. It will be accompanied by a legal proposal to reform the rules on highly skilled migrants coming to the EU to work.

An EU Action Plan on integration

The Action Plan provides a common policy framework and supporting measures which should help Member States as they further develop and strengthen their national integration policies for third-country nationals. This Action Plan has been proposed knowing that :

  • Ensuring that third-country nationals can contribute economically and socially to their host communities is key to the future well-being, prosperity and cohesion of European societies.
  • Despite efforts by Member States, migrants and recognised refugees from third countries who are legally resident in the EU continue to face an increased risk of poverty or social exclusion.
  • Even though integration policies remain very much a national competence, in the current context many EU Member States are facing similar challenges, and the EU level can add value through the structural and financial support it provides.

A reform of the EU 'Blue Card’

Adopted in 2009, the EU Blue Card scheme has proven insufficient and unattractive so far and is therefore underused. Today's proposal revamps the existing rules and aims to improve the EU’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled third-country nationals. The new proposal :

  • establishes a single EU-wide scheme, replacing parallel national schemes for the purpose of highly skilled employment
  • enhances intra-EU mobility by facilitating the procedures and also allowing for shorter business trips.
  • lowers the salary threshold by creating a flexible range within which Member States can adjust the threshold to their labour markets contexts.
  • Allows highly skilled beneficiaries of international protection to apply for a Blue Card.
  • strengthens the rights of both the Blue Card holders and their family members.

The new Blue Card Scheme would bring an estimated positive annual economic impact of between €1.4 billion to €6.2 billion from additional highly skilled workers coming to the EU to take up jobs.

For additional information, including background information or the complete action plan, please visit the Commission’s website.

Publication Date: Tue 07 Jun 2016
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