What is the change? The European Commission has released the results of a public consultation on the EU Blue Card and EU high-skilled labor migration policies.

What does the change mean? The responses to the consultation from employers, high-skilled migrants and other stakeholders will help inform steps the EU will take to improve the EU Blue Card scheme and migration policies to better attract high-skilled workers.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: EU Blue Card.
  • Who is affected: Employers and high-skilled non-EU national employees.
  • Business impact: The public consultation was undertaken to reform the EU Blue Card program and broaden its use by employers in the EU to attract high-skilled labor from outside the EU and fill labor shortages.

Background: The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the EU Blue Card Directive as part of its agenda on legal migration. The consultation was open from May through September and sought comments from employers, employer associations, non-EU nationals within and outside the EU, trade unions and other stakeholders. A total of 625 contributions were submitted from stakeholders.

The key findings are:

  • The EU Blue Card is still not widely known, with only 55 percent of respondents recognizing the scheme.
  • Eighty percent of respondents said the EU Blue Card would be more attractive if its scope was expanded to more categories, including job-seeking permits in shortage occupations and permits for international graduates of EU universities.
  • The most important measures to improve the EU Blue Card are fast-track entry procedures and a clear, streamlined and uniform scheme.
  • Fifty-three percent of respondents favored a unified EU-wide scheme.
  • The EU is considered a highly attractive destination, with Germany ranked at the top, but streamlining entry procedures are crucial to increase the EU’s attractiveness to non-EU high-skilled workers, as is the recognition of foreign qualifications.
  • Eighty-five percent of all respondents considered it necessary to recruit workers from outside the EU to address labor shortages in particular occupations.

The full summary of responses is available here.

Additional information on the consultation is available here.

BAL Analysis: The public comments to which BAL contributed confirm that the EU Blue Card is underutilized by businesses, and its scope should be broadened and procedures streamlined to improve its attractiveness as a route for employers to use in bringing skilled non-EU workers to Europe.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact