Germany to begin accepting EU Blue Card applications

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Germany has announced that they will begin accepting EU Blue Card applications for assignments having an effective start date of 1 August 2012. Applicants must have a job offer and work contract prior to applying for the EU Blue Card.

In May 2009, the European Union (EU) introduced the EU Blue Card, the EU's bid to attract highly skilled workers, competing against the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is an EU-wide work permit scheme allowing highly-skilled non-EU citizens the right to work and live in any EU country excluding Denmark, Ireland, and the UK.

Since 2009, each EU-member country has been implementing the Blue Card according to each member state's labour needs.

In April 2012, the Germany's National Parliament passed the EU's Blue Card directive to make it easier for highly-skilled workers to obtain work permits and live in Germany.

According to the Germany's Foreign Office, general requirements for the Blue Card are as follows:
  • Applicants must have a university degree and a firm job offer & work contract in Germany.
  • Applicants must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €45,000.
  • Skills-shortage professions such as engineers, IT experts and doctors must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €35,000.
  • EU Blue Card-holders may be eligible for an unlimited German work and residence permit after three years of continuous residence, provided that they also have a valid work contract at the time of application for permanent residence.
  • Blue Card-holders with a basic working knowledge of spoken/written German may be eligible to apply for an unlimited work and residence permits after two years of continuous residence.
  • Qualified accompanying spouses would be entitled to apply for work authorization regardless of German language skills.
According to the Foreign Office, the Federal Labor Office aims to process Blue Card applications within two weeks from the submission date. However, as the Foreign Office and the Labor Office must train up staff on necessary processing procedures, initial Blue Card applications may take longer to process until staff is comfortable with the procedures and requirements.

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