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Thursday, February 9, 2012

European Blue Card - Update on France (February 2012)

Time for an update on one of our (and your) favorite subjects - the implementation of the Blue Card.

Late January, the official French government site, Pour La Promotion de l'Immigration Professionelle, was updated with an entire page devoted to the EU Blue Card:
Ce dispositif vise à faciliter l’entrée, le séjour et le travail en France des ressortissants de pays tiers aux fins d’emploi hautement qualifié.
La France est le premier Etat membre de l’Union Européenne à transposer par la loi du 16 juin 2011 relative à l'immigration, à l'intégration et à la nationalité, la directive européenne 2009/50/CE du 25 mai 2009. 
(This new option is meant to facilitate the entry, the residence and work in France of non-EU country nationals who are highly-qualified workers.
With the law of June 16, 2011 concerning immigration, integration and nationality, France is the first Member state of the EU to act into law the EU Directive 2009/50/CE of May 25, 2009.)
On this new page you will find links to the text of the law, a list of the papers you and the employer will need to provide and the procedure for the company to follow.   Remember that this site is really destined for employers (not migrants) however I think it is useful for everyone concerned. The information here is quite clear and straightforward but there are a few surprising twists:

Nationals not concerned by this law:  I knew that nationals of other EU states were not concerned but apparently people from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Algeria are also exempt.  In the last case, entry of Algerians is covered by a 1968 treaty between France and Algeria.

Definition of a THQ:  There is a new acronym to learn, THQ, which means Travailleur hautement qualifié (Highly qualified worker).  Basically someone with three years of higher education or five years of experience.

Salary requirements:  Here they actually give a number to the rather vague "1.5 times the average salary of reference."  In 2012 this translates to 51,444 Euros per year before taxes.

Family reunification:  A Blue Card holder in France can bring his/her family and there is a simplified procedure for this.  And they seem to be saying that family members of a Blue Card holder can work too.  Check this one out carefully, folks, but this is what I read:  "Carte de séjour temporaire mention "vie privée et familiale" qui autorise à travailler. Cette carte est délivrée pour la même durée de la validité que la carte bleue européenne. Renouvelable de plein droit durant la période de validité de la CBE du conjoint."  (Temporary residency permit with the note "private and family life" which gives authorization to work.  This card is delivered for the same duration as the Blue Card of the spouse.  Renewable for the same period as the Blue Card of the spouse.)

There is much more:  no medical visit required, for example, for a highly qualified worker.  There is also another service concerned in the process which is the SMOE (Service de Main d'Œuvre Etrangère) and they have an explanation of how an application for a Blue Card is transferred from one service to another.

These are very generous terms.  The salary they cite is well within what I would expect for someone with a good degree and/or experience.  If spouses can work (and it appears that they can) that is another  bonus.  After 5 years of continuous residence Blue Card holders qualify for a long-term EU residency permit (10 years) and then possibly citizenship in an EU country.  Of course, there is one issue to solve before any of this is possible and that is getting that contract.  I am looking for work at the moment and what I will do is try to give you some idea of how to find a job in France in IT in a future post.  I've got some good links and sites that might be useful to you and I'll be more than happy to share those with you.


Anonymous said...

thanks for info.Any idea when actual implementation will start for blue card

Victoria FERAUGE said...

It looks like it's a go already. If you look here

it says that first steps are between the employer and the potential employee. The employer is responsible for both providing a legal work contact and then asking the state for authorization. Once the work authorization comes through then the employee goes to the prefecture (if he/she is already in France). If the employee is outside France then it gets a bit complicated but it appears that the employer must talk to Direccte.

This is really interesting because it appears that the French government is putting a category of immigration directly in the hands of industry. Business will be responsible for the selection, the contract, the initial procedures and so on. This is called I believe an "Employer-driven immigration system." Very interesting.

From what I have seen on the various government websites the Blue Card basically is available already. You just have to get a contract.

Anonymous said...

Hi Victoria,
Thanks a lot for the encouraging post.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts on the blue card, the best summary on the issue on the web by far!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Thank *you* for reading and for your comment. I'm working on another update and hope to post it soon.

All the best,


Wullar said...

Great post! Indeed the only place on web to get a clear picture of what it is all about.

Wonder if anyone has got this 'Blue Card?' and what I do wonder is how much is it different than the Talents and Skills visa or the other categories of visas?

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Hi Wullar,

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment.

The major difference between the Blue Card and the other visa programs is that (at least in theory) a Blue Card allows entry into all of Europe (with the exception of the three that are not participating) and not just one country. So you could come to France and work for a couple of years and then move to Belgium or Germany or another EU country.

A very good deal, I think.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Yes the Blue Card scheme is up and running. I spoke with the French consulate in Miami and was told they had only processed one in the past year. The procedure though first starts in the Prefecture and somehow gets sent to the French consulate in applicant's home country. I am still investigating this since I am PACS but I was told I can not work for up to ONE year and need a visitor's visa.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

That is fabulous news! Thank you so much for sharing it. If you have more info or if you'd like to share as you go through the application process, please feel free to do so here. Good luck to you!

Lunokhod said...

Hi there,
I've found your blog and it's pretty interesting. As I got this u're living in France these days and work in IT field.
Maybe you could give me a few tips?
I'm in Canada now, but trying to get to know as much info about Blue Card etc concerning France.
1. Maybe you could suggest some really good websites to find a job in IT in France, because I'm having troubles finding those? Though I'm not interested in Paris at all, more like in Sophia Antipolis area.
2. Also, I wonder what are the salaries in average in It field in France? Because latest info says it has to be at least ~50k euro per year and as I see it's pretty big salary for France. Is it real to get a job like this? I work mostly with objective-c/ios