Friday, 28 October 2011

Introduction of the ‘European Blue Card’

As from 19 June 2011 the Netherlands has a new purpose of stay: the European Blue Card. The European Blue Card is a separate purpose of stay in addition to the existing National Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. The EU Blue Card Council Directive is intended for highly skilled foreign nationals who do not have EU, EEA or Swiss nationality, and who wish to work in one of the member states of the EU. The Directive is also meant to make it easier to settle in another EU member state. A residence permit will always be required in that other member state, however. To obtain this residence permit the employee must comply with the conditions applicable in that member state.

The conditions for residence in the Netherlands as an EU Blue Card holder are stricter than those for residence as a Highly Skilled Migrant. The employee must have a contract for highly qualified employment for at least one year, earning at least EUR 60,000 gross (in 2011). The employee must have completed a course of higher education lasting at least three years. The employee must prove this by having his diploma assessed by Nuffic. For a regulated profession, a competent authority will take decisions about the admission to that profession.

One of the advantages of the EU Blue Card is that it is easier for an EU Blue Card holder and his family members to settle in another EU member state at a later date. After eighteen months foreign nationals who have an EU Blue Card are exempted from the provisional residence permit (MVV) requirement, if they want to work in another EU member State. In this second member state the employee must submit an application for a residence permit as a holder of an EU Blue Card. Each member state may implement the directive in slightly different ways. If someone holds a Blue Card in the Netherlands, this does not mean that the requirements are also met in other member states.

Another advantage is that after having stayed lawfully with the EU Blue Card holder in the Netherlands for two years, the family members may apply for a residence permit for ‘continued residence’. For other purposes of stay this is only possible after having stayed lawfully in the Netherlands for three years. The family members must have resided legally and continuously within the territory of an EU member state for at least five years, however. An employee who has stayed legally in the Netherlands as an EU Blue Card holder for two years may apply for the status of ‘long-term resident as a non-EU member country national’. He must have resided legally and continuously within EU territory for five years and must comply with the other conditions for this purpose of stay.


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