Date of roadmap: 16 July 2015
A review of the "EU Blue Card" Directive" was put forward by the Juncker Commission as a first step towards a new European policy on legal migration. This policy aims to improve the EU’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled third-country nationals, as well as to enhance their mobility and circulation between jobs in different Member States. It intends to improve the EU’s ability to respond to arising demands for highly skilled third-country nationals, and to offset skill shortages in certain sectors, in order to contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the EU economy and addressing the consequences of the EU’s demographic ageing.
The EU Blue Card Directive was adopted in May 2009 and had to be transposed into national law by June 2011 yet many Member States were late in doing so. The Directive introduced common rules of admission and stay for highly qualified non-EU nationals who apply to be admitted to a Member State for the purposes of highly qualified employment. In May 2014 the Commission adopted the first implementation report (COM(2014)0287 final) on the Directive which assessed the transposition of the Directive into national legislation of the 25 participating Member States. While it was too early to draw final conclusions on the instrument, the report already identified some of the main shortcomings of the Directive.
The European Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015 (COM(2015)240 final) confirmed that a review would look at how to make the EU Blue Card more effective in attracting talent to Europe. After an open public consultation between June and September 2015 and an in-depth assessment of the EU Blue Card and the national schemes for highly skilled workers of the Member States, on 7 June 2016 the Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU Blue Card Directive together with an extensive impact assessment report that reflects the review process. The review concluded that the EU’s current immigration system for highly skilled workers is not well equipped for the current and future challenges. It looked closer at the shortcomings of the existing schemes and assessed various policy options to address these.
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Throughout the review of the EU Blue Card Directive it has been the Commission’s strategy to carry out broad consultations of stakeholders. To view the followed consultation strategy, please consult Annex 2 ‘Stakeholder and Expert Consultations’ of the Annexes to the Impact Assessment Report (in part 2/6). It outlines the consultation objectives, maps the relevant stakeholders and explains which communication strategy, consultation methods and tools have been used in the course of the review.
On 27 May 2015 the Commission launched an internet-based public consultation on the EU Blue Card and the EU’s labour migration policies, welcoming contributions from all interested stakeholders. It was launched as part of the first implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration on 27 May 2015. It was addressed to the broadest public possible to collect views and input from all possible stakeholders, including those who will be directly affected by the policy, but also those who are involved in ensuring its correct application or might have other interests in the policy. Until its closure on 30 September 2015, a total of 625 individuals and organisations had responded to the consultation. Contributions were received from EU citizens and third-country nationals (residing inside or outside the EU), employers (from multinationals to SMEs) and their associations, private and public employment organisations, trade unions, national ministries, regional and local authorities, media workers, academics, international organisations, representatives of countries of origin, and various civil society actors. To find more information on and the replies to the consultation, including a summary of the replies, please visit the public consultation page.
Furthermore, a wide range of targeted stakeholder consultations were carried out to collect opinions from stakeholders and to address potential information gaps, most notably with Member States, international organisation, business representatives and social partners, including:
- Between October 2015 and January 2016, a number of bilateral meetings on the Blue Card were held with certain Member States (AT, BE, DE, ES, FI, FR, IT, LU, NL, PT, SE and SK).
- 4 November 2015: Conference call with OECD expert on salary thresholds
- 5 November 2015: Meeting with and targeted consultation of German business associations
- 18 November 2015: Call with IOM on refugees and asylum-seekers and the Blue Card
- 26 November 2015: Meeting with UNHCR on refugees and asylum-seekers and the Blue Card
- 3 December 2015: Workshop Labour Market Observatory (EESC)
- 21 January 2016: Meeting HOME with OECD experts on quantification models for projections of permits and economic impacts for the policy options
- 27 January 2016: Meeting with SME stakeholders to present and discuss 'better migration management', with a focus on the EU Blue Card Directive
- 27-28 January 2016: 1st European Dialogue on Skills and Migration
- 18 April 2016: Meeting Labour Market Observatory (EESC)
For more detailed information on the targeted stakeholder consultations, please consult Chapter 3 (Sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3) of Annex 2 ‘Stakeholder and Expert Consultations’ of the Annexes to the Impact Assessment Report (in part 4/6).
The Commission also held several expert meetings, including:
- 25 March 2015: First meeting of the Commission’s Expert Group on Economic Migration
- 20 May 2015: First Meeting Expert group RTD: Support Scheme for Non-EU Entrepreneurial Innovators
- 13 November 2015: First meeting of European Migration Network's Skilled Migrants Expert Group
- 7 December 2015: Second meeting of the Commission’s Expert Group on Economic Migration
For more detailed information on the expert meetings, please consult Chapter 3 (Section 3.4) of Annex 2 ‘Stakeholder and Expert Consultations’ of the Annexes to the Impact Assessment Report (in part 4/6). More information on the Commission Expert Group on Economic Migration, including its selection procedure, its members, its mission and tasks, its meeting agendas, discussion papers and meeting reports as well as written contributions by its members are publically available on the Register of Commission Expert Groups (E03253).
Finally, the LIBE secretariat of the European Parliament, the Council, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee were invited to several of the meetings and consultations and participated as observers at different occasions.
For an overview report compiling the results of the different consultation activities please consult Annex 2 ‘Stakeholder and Expert Consultations’ of the Annexes to the Impact Assessment Report (in part 2-3-4/6).
View the documents relating to the review
Commission Staff Working Document - Impact Assessment + Executive summary
External study to support the impact assessment accompanying the proposal for a review of the EU Blue Card Directive
View the reference documents
- The first implementation report (COM(2014)0287 final) on the Directive, which assessed the transposition of the Directive into national legislation of the 25 participating Member States
- The European Agenda on Migration of 13 May 2015 (COM(2015) 240 final)