The Immigrants’ Blue Card
The Blue European Labor Card was a brain child of the European Commission (23rd of October, 2007) which had José Manuel Barroso as the President and Franco Frattini as the commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security. The commission proposed for a “Blue Card” for non-European high-skilled immigrants allowing them to work and live in any country within the European Union (EU), excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom with an attempt to create certain equality of rights between European Union citizens and skilled immigrants.
This would mean not attracting significant numbers of qualified foreign professionals to that the European Union as most qualified immigrants from the Southern countries moved to the America or Canada as compared to France which has an imbalance between the two continents. The idea was to offer an alternative to the well-known American Green Card, and to boost the attractiveness of immigration to Europe, and to establish a unified system for European immigration. The term “Blue Card” makes reference to the EU flag, which is blue.
Article 63 of the Treaty of Rome which asks to adopt measures on immigration policy concerning conditions of entry and residence, and standards on procedures for the issue by Member States of long-term visas and residence permits and also defining the rights and conditions under which nationals of third countries has been proposed in the commission and has been criticized by the international community as this would lead to brain drain from developing countries and loss of their skilled citizens.
However, on May 29th 2009: the Blue European Labor Card was officially introduced and is transposed in French law by the “Loi relative à l’Immigration, à l’Intégration et à la Nationalité » of the 16th of June 2011. Then, a Decree completed the process on September 6th 2011 which came into force on the 8th of September 2011, but the provisions governing scientists and interns came into force on January 2012.
Conditions for Blue European Labor Card:
- Applicants not needed to demonstrate that their employers have first sought candidates on the French labor market.
- The applicants to the Blue Card must either possess a 3 year advanced degree or a5 years’
- The must be in possession of European [French] employment contract of a term of at least one year.
- A minimum salary of at least 1.5 times the French median salary.
- The Card is granted for a period of 3 years and which it can renewed for a similar period. If the term of the work contract is for a period less than three years, the card will be available for the whole period of the contract plus three months.
- During the first three years, the Blue Card holder will have access to the French labor market and after that the holder will have access to all the qualified jobs on the French market, on a par with French workers.
- The duration of the Blue Card is perceived as too short, compared to that of the Green Card which is not be favorable to skilled immigrants to the United States and Canada.
- The qualifications as well as the salary for Blue Card are very restrictive.
- French immigration law is made unwieldy as there are too many provision governing the entry and residency of immigrants to France.
- We know that the Blue Card lead to opening new avenues making Europe (and France) more attractive to skilled workers, its success heavily depends how the French labor offices and municipalities apply the Blue Card in practice.