What is the change? The European Commission is opening up a public consultation on the future of the EU Blue Card as the first step in implementing the business-immigration proposals contained in the Commission’s migration agenda.

What does the change mean? Employers and other stakeholders are invited to submit their ideas on how to improve economic migration, address skills shortages and attract more applicants to the Blue Card program.

  • Implementation time frame: The comment period runs from May 27 to Aug. 21.
  • Visas/permits affected: EU Blue Card.
  • Who is affected: Companies recruiting and employing non-EEA skilled migrants.
  • Business impact: Changes to the Blue Card and other categories of economic migrants from both within and outside the EU will impact the ability of businesses to move their workforce into and around the EU.
  • Next steps: Companies, expatriate employees and assignees, and other interested parties may wish to submit comments via the European Commission’s online comment form.

Background: Two weeks ago, the European Commission issued a migration agenda that projected a growing need for skilled migration to sustain an aging EU population. The agenda proposed to overhaul the EU Blue Card program by boosting the number of Blue Cards issued and easing movement within the EU for Blue Card holders.

The Commission is now seeking comments from the public, including employers of all sizes, business associations, non-EU migrant workers, and entrepreneurs outside the EU or already legally residing in the EU.

“This new policy on legal migration should help the EU address specific skills shortages and become a more attractive destination for talented workers and entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in Europe,” the Commission said. “In addition, the specific section on the EU Blue Card intends to gather opinions on how the shortcomings of this scheme can best be addressed, and how it can be made more effective and attractive.”

The Blue Card program has not garnered widespread interest; in the first two years only 16,000 cards have been issued and more than 80 percent were issued by a single country (Germany).

BAL Analysis: Employers, organizations and individuals interested in commenting must fill out an online form, read the privacy statement and submit comments by mail or email to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Home Affairs.

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

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