EU skilled worker 'blue card' set for adoption 8 December

25th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

The EU's scheme to attract skilled migrant workers will be adopted on 8 December once European Parliament recommendations are considered.

25 November 2008

BRUSSELS - The EU's new "blue card" scheme to attract skilled migrant workers will be adopted on December 8 once European Parliament recommendations are considered, the bloc's French presidency said Tuesday.

The blue card, meant to entice highly qualified non-EU nationals to Europe by giving them access to certain rights in any nation, was due to be rubber stamped when the bloc's interior ministers meet Thursday.

But the parliament, in a non-binding report last week, urged the 27 EU countries to set the salary bar higher than they had planned.

"The states are not bound by these amendments but we are not taking the parliament's vote lightly and we are going to see if improvements are possible," said a diplomat from France, which holds the EU presidency.

However he added: "There is no margin for manouevre to adjust the text on the ceiling for salaries."

The MEPs wanted EU interior ministers to insist that "blue card" candidates must have a job offer in Europe which pays at least 1.7 times the national average wage in the country they are applying to work in.

EU states have agreed that the amount should be 1.5 times the salary level.

The level could be lowered in some countries in sectors short of workers.

The "blue card" scheme is now set to be endorsed without discussion at a meeting of EU transport ministers on December 8.

With their population growth in decline, EU member states are looking to foreign labour to fill certain jobs but are struggling to compete with the United States, which attracts roughly twice the number of skilled workers.

(AFP/Expatica 2008)

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