And it looks like Germany has joined the EU Blue Card club.
According to news sources, the Bundestag passed legislation in May to implement the 2009 EU Directive creating this new work permit for highly-qualified migrants from non-EU countries.
Anti-immigration rhetoric may be common in Germany but the reality is that a combination of a low birth-rate and a net migration rate of 0.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (which means that the number of emigrants versus immigrants is about equal)) has industry hungry for workers. Hans Heinrich Driftmann of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce DIHK estimated in 2011 that Germany lacks 400,000 skilled workers (engineers, craftsmen and skilled labor).
The measure did not pass without a fight. This article reports that there was a 90 minute debate over the Blue Card requirements with some opponents arguing that the salary requirements were too low and others arguing that the language requirements (learning German gets a migrant worker more favorable treatment) were too onerous. One Green parliament member said that the latter was just silly and that good English for a job that requires those language skills ought to be sufficient, "Otherwise, Germany can only hope to draw good minds from Austria and German-speaking Switzerland,"
But it did pass in the end. So how does one go about applying? I poked around and found some good information in French, German and English on the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) site here. From there I followed a link to the International Placement Services site which offers more information and a migration check which is a little wizard that guides you through the process of determining what kind of migration options (work and residency permits) are available to you based on your situation. Another resource is the EU Immigration Portal which is a very rich source of information about EU migration procedures by country and has a list of contacts.
Bon dimanche, everyone!