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Two years ago, inspired by the United States’ Green Card concept, the European Commission adopted Directive 2009/50/EC, officially introducing the Blue European Labor Card. The idea was to allow highly skilled non-EU citizen workers to live and work in EU countries. The implementation of this directive comes into force in June 2011. The program as yet excludes Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, who opted out of the scheme.

The Blue Card directive will allow people living outside the EU to apply for work permit, and those successful will receive many other benefits, such as favorable family unification rights. One of the conditions for obtaining a Blue Card will be a higher education diploma.

Bulgaria will be the first country to start accepting applications for the Blue Card, starting June 1, 2011.Other countries are expected to follow starting July 1, 2011.

The "blue card" aka Blue European Labor Card, which is an approved EU-wide work permit, is part of the amendments to the Foreigners Act, of Bulgaria.

The text of the amendments states that foreign citizens will be granted a "blue card" if they have a Bulgarian visa and if they are highly qualified professionals.

The decision for the issuing of the permit will be taken after approval from the Bulgarian Labor Ministry and will be valid for a year. Extension would be allowed if the country continues to suffer shortage of specialists.

The amendments envision four types of period of residence for foreigners in Bulgaria. The short-term stay is limited to 90 days with the possibility of one extension.

Permission for long-term residence will be granted for two periods - of one and five years, with the possibility of extension. Permission for permanent residence will be given for an indefinite period of time.

According to the law, residence permit can be issued for humanitarian reasons. The amendments also introduce rules for family reunion of foreigners living in Bulgaria and for withdrawal of permits, one of the reasons for which would be a fake marriage or adoption.

The Blue Card concept will help businesses in Bulgaria, and subsequently in other EU countries, to find suitable staff in sectors such as Engineering or Information Technology. Many European companies, including some in Bulgaria, often experience a shortfall of highly qualified and skilled workers. This will give an opportunity to citizens of Russia, Croatia, Ukraine, Serbia, Moldavia, Turkey and many other countries to find jobs in Bulgaria and other EU states, with more favorable benefits than in their home countries.

It is hoped that not only the EU countries will benefit from this scheme, as it will also provide an opportunity for highly educated and highly skilled migrants to access the EU labor market. Those who receive an EU Blue Card will be allowed to work and live in the EU country together with their families for an initial period of two years. Before this time expires, they will be able to extend their visas providing they meet certain criteria. If such criteria are met, they will also be able to move from one EU country to another, and will therefore be able to work towards getting a permanent residence.


If you are an employer or placement agency based in the EU & you would like to recruit overseas staff on the blue card or Recruit from India, Britcanaus Immigration provides a range of services right from short listing suitable staff to processing their blue card. All you have to do is give us your requirement, we take care of the rest.

You may send your specic requirements at query@britcanaus.org.

EU Countries including Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy are expected to see further declines in their working age populations in future. Increasing immigration from outside the EU is needed to deal with skills shortages.

Businesses are pushing to open up the labor pool. Increasingly they maintain that new graduates and more skilled workers from outside of the EU are needed to sustain and increase economic growth.

For more information regarding any of our services, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.