EU: Council Adopts Blue Card Directive to Attract Highly Qualified Workers 

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Key points

  • The EU Blue Card program is going to change
  • More inclusive measures will be taken to attract highly qualified non-EU nationals  


On 7 Oct 2021, the European Council adopted a new directive establishing the entry and residence conditions for highly qualified non-EU nationals. Under these new rules, the EU aims to attract more qualified workers from outside the region, especially those working in sectors currently facing labor shortages.  

These new rules are aimed at harmonizing the conditions of entry for highly qualified workers by creating more uniformed and inclusive admission criteria; simplifying procedures 
for recognized employers; and aid in facilitating intra-EU mobility and family reunification. Additionally, the stated goal is to ensure that there is a more equitable labor market for Blue Card holders and their family members. 

What’s Changed?  

This new directive will replace Directive 2009/50, alternatively known as the EU Blue Card Directive. Under this new directive, changes were made to attract more highly qualified 
foreign nationals from countries outside of the EU. 

What Should Employers and Applicants Know? 

This news may yield enhanced work authorization processes, particularly for recognized employers. The development may be welcome news for multinational mobility programs leveraging assignments for non-EU assignees in EU member states. 

Looking Ahead 

Continue to check the European Council’s website and Envoy’s website for future updates.  

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.