If you are a highly-skilled individual, who has the necessary university diplomas and work experience, you can work in the European Union via an EU Blue Card for Highly Qualified Workers. You would need university education, proper work experience, and a job offer with a higher-than-average salary.

EU Blue Cards are also issued to researchers, students, vocational trainees, and seasonal workers.

Who is eligible for EU Blue Card for Highly Qualified Workers?

Citizens of several countries are eligible to apply for an EU Blue Card, but they also have to meet the following requirements:

  • Education: At least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a UN university or a recognized university abroad.
  • Work experience: At least five years of work experience in the relevant field. Sometimes the work experience can substitute the lack of university qualifications, but in most cases, employers ask for both work experience and education.
  • Job offer: You must have a work contract or job offer for at least one year for a position that requires high qualifications or skills or a position for which there is a shortage of eligible EU citizens
  • Salary: You must have a salary that meets the EU Blue Card requirements (depends on the country – usually 1.5 times the national average)
  • Health insurance: You must have EU Blue Card health insurance

Salary requirements for Highly Qualified Workers EU Blue Card

In order to qualify for an EU Blue Card as a highly qualified worker, you have to earn a salary that is at least 1.5 times the average national salary in the country where you will work.

For professions that are “in shortage”, the minimum salary in 1.2 times the national average. Professions in shortage are considered those where there is a lack of EU workers to fill the positions, such as:

  • Mathematics
  • Informatics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Technology
  • Medicine

How to apply for Highly Qualified Workers EU Blue Card?

The way you apply for an EU Blue Card as a Highly Skilled Worker changes depending on the EU country in which you want to work. The options are:

  • At the EU state’s Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence
  • At the Foreigner’s Office in the respective EU country (your employer applies on your behalf)
  • Online (if the EU country where you will work offers the option)

Both you and your employer are involved in the process, regardless of the method of application. Before your employer is allowed to hire you, they will likely have to sign an agreement with the relevant governing bodies in their country, allowing them to hire non-EU nationals. Although, (depending on the position you are filling and the concerning EU state) they don’t always have to give proof that there was no EU national better suited for the job.

Note: Unlike with regular work visas for the EU, you do not have to apply for a work permit and residence permit to be allowed to work and live in the EU. Instead, you can get them both in one process, known as the Single Permit.

Highly Qualified Workers EU Blue Card application requirements

When you apply for an EU Blue Card as a highly-skilled worker, you must have several documents which prove you meet the requirements:

  • Completed application form.
  • Your passport. It has to be valid for at least another 15 months from the time you intend to depart the EU.
  • Photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport (personal information page and previous visas).
  • Two passport-size pictures, in line with ICAO standards.
  • Your work contract or job offer. The document has to state the duration of the work contract/offer, your position, and salary.
  • University diploma(s)
  • Proof of your previous professional history.
  • Your CV.
  • Proof you have obtained EU Blue Card health insurance.
  • Proof you can financially sustain yourself during your stay.
  • Letter from your employer. The institute or organization that you will join has to write a letter, declaring they are responsible to reimburse any costs if you overstay and to state the reason why they want you to join their institute/organization as a researcher.
  • Proof you are not a threat to the public policy, security or health of the hosting state:
    • Police clearance certificate
    • Health certificate
  • Proof you have paid the application fee.

Qualification recognition for EU Blue Card

For certain positions, such as Doctors of Medicine, Dentists, Psychotherapists, Veterinary, Nurse, Obstetrics, Lawyer, Notary, Teacher, Engineer, Medical specialists, etc, if you have obtained your license or certificate abroad, you must have your qualifications recognized based on the standards of the EU state in which you will work. This includes entering state examinations to measure your knowledge and professional ethics.

What is the validity of the EU Blue Card for Highly Qualified Workers?

The validity of the EU Blue Card depends on the duration of the work contract. If you have a two-year work contract, your EU Blue Card will be issued for two years and three months. If your contract is extended, then you can renew your Blue Card. If it is not, then you have three months to find another eligible job and apply for a new EU Blue Card with your new employer.

EU Blue Card to permanent residency

Highly qualified workers become eligible for EU permanent residency only after working with a Blue Card for 33 months. If you also submit proof of at least B1 language proficiency, then you can have permanent residency in 21 months.

Permanent residents of an EU state have nearly all the same benefits as citizens, such as:

  • Access to employment and self-employed activity.
  • Access to education and vocational training.
  • Social protection and assistance (at least core benefits).
  • Access to goods and services

Where can I work with an EU Blue Card as a Highly Qualified Worker?

As a highly qualified worker, your EU Blue Card allows you to work only for the EU employer who has hired you – at least in the beginning. Once you have worked for them for at least 18 months, you are eligible to apply for the Blue Card in another EU state.

You can change employers within the same state only after having worked for the same one for two years.

You can only work in the profession for which you received the EU Blue Card.

Keep in mind: Not all EU member states offer EU Blue Cards.

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes, you can. If you have an EU Blue Card, you can apply for family reunification and bring your close family members to live with you. For family members of Blue Card holders, the visa requirements are more lenient since they are not required to provide proof of language proficiency.

Am I allowed to travel to other countries with an EU Blue Card?

Yes, you can. As an EU Blue Card holder, you can travel to other EU countries as a tourist for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period.

Additionally, you are allowed to be out of the country for up to 1 year without losing your Blue Card status.

Can I apply for an EU Blue Card as a qualified worker without a job offer?

No, if you don’t have a job offer with an EU company, you cannot apply for the Blue Card. You need a company to sponsor you.

However, some EU countries such as Germany, offer Job-Seeker Visas which allow the holder to come to look for work in the EU for up to six months. Once you have found a job, you can apply for the EU Blue Card.

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