A skilled worker visa for the EU (officially referred to as the EU Blue card) is a work and residence permit for migrant workers with an academic qualification.
The EU Blue Card stands as an endorsed work authorization acknowledged throughout the European Union.
It enables highly skilled non-EU individuals to work and live in the majority of EU member states (excluding Denmark and Ireland).
It also grants extra rights, including family reunification benefits.
For EU companies, the skilled worker visa can be a vital resource for business growth and talent development.
However, it’s important to carefully assess application requirements before initiating the hiring process.
EU Skilled Worker Visa: Eligibility Criteria for an EU Blue Card
For your employees to be eligible to work in the EU as highly skilled workers, they must meet the following requirements:
- Have higher professional qualifications.
- Have at least 5 years of experience in their field.
- Be employed under a regular employment contract for a minimum duration of one year. The skilled worker visa does not apply to self-employed people, seconded workers, or seasonal workers.
- Meet the minimum salary threshold. The salary must be at least one and a half times the average gross annual salary in the EU country in which they will work.
- Meet the legal requirements for regulated professions (if applicable).
Hiring Under a Skilled Worker Visa: What Are the Benefits for EU Employers?
Employing individuals under a skilled worker visa/EU Blue Card often comes with added costs compared to hiring local staff.
From salary requirements to application fees and relocation costs, there are many expenses to consider.
However, you may find several benefits when hiring highly skilled individuals from abroad:
- Streamlined process: The EU skilled worker visa often offers a faster and more streamlined application process compared to a standard work visa.
- Longer validity: Skilled worker visas are typically issued for a longer duration than ordinary work visas. This provides stability for both the employee and employer.
- Competitive Advantage: Having employees with skilled workers visas can give your company a competitive edge in the EU market. This is especially true if your business relies on specialized skills or expertise that are not available in the local market.
- Economic Benefits: Skilled workers can significantly contribute to the local economy. They bring expertise, knowledge, and experience that support economic growth.
- Simplified Renewals: Renewing this type of visa can be simpler and more straightforward than renewing a standard work visa. This, in turn, will reduce administrative burdens for both the employer and the employee.
How to Apply and Renew
To get a skilled worker visa/EU Blue Card, you or the candidate need to apply to the EU competent authorities.
The application process varies between countries, and it can be done by either the candidate or the employer.
Some countries allow online applications, while others require in-person appointments at their embassies or consulates. There might also be application fees.
Typically, this work permit is valid for three years. If you extend the employee’s work contract, they can renew it accordingly.
If the work contract is for more than a year but less than three years, the permit is valid for that specific duration. After the skilled worker visa expires, there’s a three-month grace period to either extend the contract or find another job.