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The Blue Card for the EU (Germany)
by Dr. (Jur.) Lulu Niu
I. What is the European (German) Blue Card?
Because of the growing age of the European population, many EU countries lack well-educated highly qualified workers. Recruiting such candidates from outside countries is thus one of the EU's top priorities. On 05-25-2009 the Qualified Candidate directive was enacted, and it has been in effect in Germany since 08-30-2012.
II. The German legal basis for the Blue Card
The German Residency Act, paragraph 19a, stipulates that anyone who fulfils the following two requirements is eligible for a Blue Card:
- Education: A degree from a German university, a foreign university recognized in Germany, or a degree from a foreign university that is equivalent to a German degree
- Compensation: Based on the employment contract, taxable income of at least 49,000 euro (per year), or a reduced income of 38,688 euro per year for shortage occupations such as scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, and IT workers.
III. Features of the European Blue Card
1. If the academic requirements and income requirement of 49,600 euro have been fulfilled, no permit from the German Labor Office is required. Under normal circumstances the Blue Card is issued within 6-8 weeks.
2. Verification of German language skills is not required for the Blue Card.
3. The Blue Card is valid for a maximum of 4 years, or the duration of the employment contract plus 3 months. Should the salary amount not change within this period, no additional permit from the office is required.
4. Anyone who exhibits German language skills at the B1 level may apply for a settlement permit after 21 months. This is equivalent to a Green Card.
5. Married couples and children may apply for residency in Germany for purposes of family unification, and verification of German language skills at the A1 level is not required. Spouses receive immediate, unrestricted access to gainful employment. Should the recipient of the Blue Card have legal health insurance, the entire family is automatically legally covered. Blue Card recipients may also apply for children's benefits of 190 euro per month for the first and second child.
6. Blue Card recipients may spend 12 months in a country outside of the EU without the Blue Card becoming invalid. A term of 6 months applies to other work visas.
7. Should you be required by professional regulations to work in Germany, and it is no longer possible or there is no longer enough time to apply for the Blue Card at the German embassy in China, you may do so at the German foreigners' registration office in exceptional cases.