The EU Commission has given EU member states until 1 July to implement the blue card directive. Starting on 1 June 2011, highly skilled workers from outside the European Union can apply to work in Bulgaria under the EU Blue Card scheme. The blue card would allow a skilled worker with a job offer to take employment in member states under the directive. It may also be possible to work in more than one EU member state using the same Blue Card.
The Blue Card aka Blue European Labour Card is an approved EU-wide work permit (Council Directive 2009/50/EC) allowing high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are not subject to the proposal. The term Blue Card was coined by the think tank Bruegel, inspired by the United States’ Green Card and making reference to the EU flag which is blue with twelve golden stars.
The Blue Card proposal presented by the European Commission offers a one-track procedure for non-EU citizens to apply for a work permit, which would be valid for up to two-years, but can be renewed thereafter. Those who are granted a blue card will be given a series of rights, such as favorable family unification rules. The proposal also encourages geographic mobility within the EU, between different member states, for those who have been granted a blue card. The legal basis for this proposal is Article 63(3)(a) and (4) of the Treaty of Rome, which states that the Council shall adapt measures on immigration policy concerning “conditions of entry and residence and standards on procedures for the issue by Member States” and measures “defining the rights and conditions under which nationals of third countries who are legally resident in a Member State may reside in other Member States”.
“[One of the] requirements for a non-EU citizen to get a blue card are a higher education certificate,” said Hristo Simeonov of the Bulgarian Ministry of Social Policy and Labour.
Many European companies, including Bulgaria, are experiencing shortage of highly qualified and highly skilled workers. Citizens of countries such as Ukraine, Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, and Moldavia may soon find it easier to work in Bulgaria, and in other Countries in the EU.