Working Paper, Institute for International Political Economy Berlin 76/2016
In 2007 the Commission proposed a Directive aimed exclusively at third-country nationals moving to Europe for the purpose of highly qualified employment that would set up a harmonized entry procedure, lay down common residence conditions and facilitate mobility through Europe. The Directive, named Blue Card, was meant to make Europe more attractive for highly qualified migrants by offering a fast-track entry procedure and social benefits in the EU. The Commission, despite the reluctance of Member States, managed to push through the Directive, which was finally approved in 2009. In the first three years since the Blue Card first entered into force in the majority of Member States in 2012, no more than 30,352 cards have been issued, of which about 26,200 by a single Member State. Why? Through a detailed analysis of the conditions set by the Directive and their comparison with the ones posed by the national labour migration schemes - in particular in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands -, this paper aims to demonstrate that the causes of failure are not to search in the Blue Card instrument per se, but rather in the ways this has been implemented in the single Member States.
European Blue Card labour migration third-country migrants labour shortage high-skilled migrants European economic competitiveness free movement of labour harmonization knowledge economy reallocation of workers single market sovereignty shared competences