Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Can we learn from European Union about Immigration.
EU proposes 'blue card' scheme to lure skilled immigrants.
The European Union introduced plans on Tuesday for a "blue card" visa work system — modelled after the U.S. green card — to attract more skilled labourers to live within the 27-nation bloc and fill 20 million jobs in the next two decades.
Under the proposed blue card scheme, which is named after the blue flag of the EU, holders and their families would be able to live, work and travel within the EU.
The EU said the proposal is meant to bring in more immigrants with know-how in the engineering and computer technology fields in particular. Another aim is to compete with the U.S. for some of the best brains in the world, the BBC reports.
European Commissioner for Justice Franco Frattini, who is pushing the proposal, said that only five per cent of all skilled labour migrates to the EU while more than half goes to the U.S.
The plan has reportedly been met with some controversy over fears that it could trigger brain drains in poorer countries. The U.K., Denmark and Ireland may opt out of the plan, Reuters reported.
Below are some key details of the proposed plan:
Applicants must have a job offer of at least a one-year contract and be qualified to fill the post.
The employer will have to prove the job cannot be filled by an EU citizen.
The work contract must offer a wage that is at least triple the minimum wage in the country where the job is located.
The blue card would remain valid as long as the holder has a job. If the holder loses his or her job, it remains valid for up to three months of unemployment.
Blue card holders will have the same social and employment rights as EU citizens, as well as the right to bring in families. They can also move to any other EU country
if they find a new job there after two years of legal residence in the first member state.