The EU Blue Card – a Residence Permit for Highly Qualified Workers

Are you a Highly Qualified Worker Seeking Employment in Germany? The following article will explain how this is possible and which requirements need to be met. On 1 August 2012, the legislation implementing the EU Directive on Highly Qualified Employment (Council Directive 2009/50/EC) came into force. This legislation provides you with the opportunity to obtain the EU Blue Card, a new type of residence permit. You can find the legal basis for this in §19a of the German Residence Act, which regulates when the EU Blue Card will be issued. Schlun & Elseven can assist you with all questions surrounding the EU Blue Card and can help you obtain your residence permit.


General Requirements for the Issue of an EU Blue Card

First, you will need to provide evidence that you hold a degree either from a German university or a recognised foreign university, a foreign degree comparable to a German degree, or a comparable qualification, evidenced through a minimum of five years of practical employment experience. Problems can already occur at this stage, where the determination of comparability/ recognition of a foreign degree is concerned. We are happy to support you in such determination proceedings. Further, the Federal Labour Office has to approve the issue of an EU Blue Card and your salary needs to exceed a certain minimum level. If the latter applies, the approval of the Federal Labour Office is no longer strictly necessary. The German government has increased the minimum salary requirements for European Union (EU) Blue Cards, effective 1 January 2019. For the year 2019, you must be able to show a minimum income of 53,600 Euros per year. However, in so-called understaffed professions, an income of 41,808 Euros will suffice. This applies, in particular, to scientists, mathematicians, engineers, IT-experts, and doctors. A complete list can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The calculation is linked to the income threshold governing the statutory pension insurance scheme, which changes every year. The decisive factor here is generally that the guaranteed salary will have to meet the minimum salary requirement, meaning that the employee can in fact freely dispose of these funds, and payment of their salary does not depend on other factors (the Federal Labour Court so decided in a case concerning minimum wage for building cleaners, see Federal Labour Court judgment from 18 April 2012 – 4 AZR 139/10).

It should further be noted that you must show evidence of a valid German employment contract, or a concrete job offer. Here lies a significant difference between the EU Blue Card and the US Green Card. If, however, you have satisfied all other conditions for the issue of an EU Blue Card, you may obtain a six month visa for the purpose of finding employment in accordance with §18c of the Residence Act. If you are not a citizen of Australia, Japan, Israel, Canada, The Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America, you will further need to apply for a visa at a German embassy in your country of origin. This becomes unnecessary only if you have held an EU Blue Card from a different EU Member State for at least 18 months. In that case, you will be able to apply for a visa in Germany within a month of arrival.


The (Main) Advantages of the EU Blue Card – Work Permit, Residence Permit, and Your Family Can Join You

An EU Blue Card has a four year time limit after its issue. Apart from that, the duration will depend on your employment contract. If your employment relationship is limited to less than four years, your EU Blue Card will be limited to the duration of the employment relationship plus three months. During this time, you will have a full work and residence permit in Germany.

However, you can also use the EU Blue Card to obtain a settlement permit after 33 months (with German skills at a B1 level after 21 months), §19a(6) of the Residence Act. This is a permanent residence permit. Further, your family members (in the absence of particular hardship, this is limited to your spouse and children) can travel with you to Germany and have an immediate and unlimited right to work there. Further evidence (of language skills) need not be shown. The spouse who intends to accompany the other to Germany must personally make the corresponding application at their German consular post abroad.


The EU Blue Card and the European Union – What Is Allowed?

Those holding an EU Blue Card can generally move to another country in the European Union after 18 months. In that case, the time you have spent in Germany will be taken into account for the purpose of calculating the time required for permanent residence in your new country. You must however note that the Directive on Highly Qualified Employment has no effect in Ireland, the United Kingdom, or Denmark. You are generally entitled to move between Schengen Member States without a visa for tourism purposes. It should be noted that, as an EU Blue Card holder, you may spend up to 12 months outside of the EU. If this period is exceeded, you may lose your residence permit.


Our Services

Are you a highly skilled worker and interested in the EU Blue Card? Or are you an employer and interested in hiring people from abroad in Germany? The law firm Schlun & Elseven with offices in Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and conderence rooms in Berlin, Munich and Hamburg offers full assistance during the issuing proceedings, can take care of correspondence with the relevant authorities, and will naturally represent you where an EU Blue Card is refused or withdrawn. We are also happy to review the transition to an EU Blue Card from a different type of residence permit. If you satisfy the conditions for obtaining an EU Blue Card, you have a legal right to its issue. We are also happy to review your documents to determine whether you are eligible for the EU Blue Card. As we have successfully represented many clients, including doctors, engineers, IT-experts and managers, we have all the experience we need to assist you, too, in obtaining your EU Blue Card. Through the language skills of our individual lawyers, we are able to advise you in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian and Turkish.

Our law firm, Schlun & Elseven, can assist you nationwide and is your reliable and competent partner in all questions surrounding the EU Blue Card and other types of residence permits. Simply call our number +49 241 4757140 or send us an e-mail via info@se-legal.de .

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