The European Commission has announced its intention to reform the EU Blue Card system. Based on the Green Card system in the USA, the EU Blue Card was developed to recruit highly-qualified workers especially in the fields of IT, medicine and engineering.


According to the Commission, the Blue Card has proven to be inadequate and unattractive, which is why it is being taken up far less than anticipated. In order to give out between 32,000 and 137,000 Blue Cards per year, the rules for obtaining a card will be relaxed; for example, in the future, workers interested in a Blue Card only need to have an employment contract of at least six months instead of the current twelve. The minimum salary will be reduced to 80 per cent of the average salary and permanent residency can be applied for after three years instead of five years. Self-employed persons and people with recognised refugee status in EU countries will also be given the opportunity to apply for a Blue Card. Processing will also be faster and with less red tape.  


The number of Blue Cards issued is far below expectations. In 2013, only 13,000 cards were issued across Europe. The only country where the system is being used extensively is Germany. This can be attributed to more liberal legislation. The proposed reform still requires approval from the Parliament and Council.