The EU Blue Card and Other Global Work Authorizations

February 22, 2018 Nidhi Madhavan

An overview for employers sending talent abroad to the European Union and other countries

For employers conducting business operations in foreign countries, getting talent on the ground first requires securing work authorization with the appropriate government agencies. Having an understanding of which visas and permits are frequently utilized by international assignees can help human resources teams streamline the process.

The EU Blue Card and other popular global work authorization options

Europe: The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is a work permit issued by countries in the European Union. It facilitates highly qualified non-EU citizens to live and work in 25 out of 27 EU member states (the permit excludes Denmark and Ireland) in order to stimulate economic development by making Europe a desirable destination for qualified workers and providing a streamlined process for free movement within the EU for non-citizens.

To be eligible for an EU Blue Card, a foreign national must have either a university degree or five years of relevant professional experience, as well as an employment contract or binding job offer. The position must also pay at least 1.5 times the average national salary. EU Blue Cards are valid for periods between one and four years and can be renewed for the same time period. For more information on eligibility requirements and application steps, click here.

Australia: Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (subclass 482)

This permit allows skilled foreign workers nominated by an approved employer to work in an occupation facing a skills shortage in Australia for one to four years. Applicants must have the skills and experience necessary for the nominated profession, as well as at least two years of full-time work experience in a similar role acquired within the prior five years.

Labour market testing is required for most professions. Salaries for foreign workers on this visa must be comparable to the Australian market rate and no less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold. Applicants must also secure health insurance for them and their dependents for the duration of their stay in Australia.

Canada: LMIA-based Work Permit

This permit is for foreign workers with job offers in Canada. It requires a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which demonstrates that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a job in Canada. Employers must send an application to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to obtain a positive LMIA before the foreign national worker may apply for a work permit.

The length of stay depends on the job offer, LMIA and passport expiration date, but LMIAs are typically approved for one, two or three years.

Foreign companies with Canadian affiliates can bring executives, senior managers and employees with specialized knowledge to work without the need of an LMIA. 

China: Z Visa + Work Permit + Residence Permit

Foreign nationals seeking to work in China must first apply for the work permit notice and a Z visa, which permits entry to highly skilled workers. After arriving, Z visa holders must apply for a work permit in order to work legally. They must also apply for a residence permit, which replaces the Z Visa and permits multiple entry to China.

To obtain a work permit, applicants must pass a medical exam, be qualified for the job, have no criminal record and have a host employer in China. Z visas expire within 30 days of entry, but work and residence permits usually last one year and are renewable.

Mexico: Temporary Visitors Visa (Remunerated or Non-Remunerated)

Foreign nationals seeking work authorization in Mexico may apply for two types of temporary visitor visas. The temporary Residents Visa for Non-Remunerated Activities is for foreign nationals assigned to work in Mexico but who remain on foreign payroll. Foreign nationals on this visa may not receive a salary from a Mexican entity. Foreign nationals who are hired by a Mexican entity may apply for a Visa for Remunerated Activities, which requires the sponsoring entity in Mexico to register with the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM).

The prior is valid for one to four years and allows for multiple re-entry. The latter is valid for up to four years.

To learn more about Envoy’s global immigration services in these countries and others, visit our website or contact us today.


Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Hannah In-Chan, Jim Yang and Michelle Gong from Envoy’s global team.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.

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