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Revision of the Blue Card Directive [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Marie Lecerf (3rd edition, updated on 15.7.2021),

© mangostar_studio / Fotolia

Attracting highly qualified immigrants to Europe has been one of the EU’s key priorities for several years. However, up until now the EU has not been as successful as other OECD countries. This demand for workers is expected to increase due to the increasing shortage of certain skills and the aging of the EU’s population.

The proposed directive, which would replace the 2009 Blue Card Directive, increases the attractiveness of the EU highly skilled migration scheme by expanding its scope, lowering criteria for admission or expanding the rights of beneficiaries.

On 15 June 2017, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) adopted its report, and voted to open interinstitutional negotiations. After the Council agreed its mandate, trilogue meetings started in September 2017, but little progress was made before the end of the 2014-2019 parliamentary term. In October 2019, Parliament decided to resume work on the file in the context of ‘unfinished business’ to be carried over to the new legislature. The European Commission’s ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’, presented on 23 September 2020, stressed the need to finalise the negotiations. On 17 May 2021, the Parliament and the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council finally reached an interim agreement on the revision of the directive. On 21 May, Member States’ ambassadors, in the Committee of Permanent Representatives, endorsed the agreement. And on 3 June, the LIBE committee also endorsed the agreement reached with the Council. Parliament is expected to vote on adopting the agreed text during the September 2021 plenary session.

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 Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment
Committee responsible: Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) COM(2016) 378 of 7.6.2016


Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)

Rapporteur: Javier Moreno Sánchez (S&D, Spain)
Shadow rapporteurs: Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP, Czechia)
Ramona Strugariu (Renew, Romania)
Damian Boeselager (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Peter Kofod (ID, France)
Assita Kanko (ECR, Belgium)
Pernando Barrena Arza (The Left, Spain)
Next steps expected: Final first-reading vote in plenary

Comparison of EU Blue Cards (BC) and first permits
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