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S&D Group and Portuguese Presidency reach agreement on revised rules for fairer Blue Card Directive


18 May 2021


Social Europe & Jobs

The S&D Group has successfully concluded negotiations for a political agreement on the revised Blue Card Directive that creates more legal pathways for skilled migrants into Europe. After years of stalled negotiations in the Council, progress towards an agreement was revived with negotiations restarting under the German Presidency in September of last year, and then gathering increased momentum under the socialist led-Portuguese Presidency in February.

The negotiations led by Javier Moreno Sánchez MEP will result in rules for third-country nationals seeking work that are fairer and that can be applied more equally across the EU. With revised rules, Blue Card holders will also enjoy greater social protection, improved labour mobility rights and equal treatment for their family members.

Following last night’s successful agreement, in a debate in plenary on Wednesday S&D MEPs will also be making the case for more legal avenues for people in medium and low-paid work to come the EU. S&D MEP Sylvie Guillaume is the Parliament’s rapporteur on the report on New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration.

Javier Moreno Sánchez, European Parliament negotiator for the Blue Card Directive, said:

“Revising the Blue Card Directive is not just about making Europe a more attractive destination for skilled migrants, it is also about making legal migration opportunities fairer. For the S&D Group, it also important to promote the win-win scenario that legal migration delivers for Europe. 

“With the revised rules, we have negotiated a more attractive and viable scheme for both skilled third-country nationals and employers, but also simpler procedures so that national administrations can really make the most of legal migration. In the negotiations, we fought for more harmonised rules that guarantee the Blue Card is valid for at least two years in all member states and that ensure Blue Card holders enjoy the same treatment as national work permit holders. We have also broadened the scope of the Directive so that the third-country nationals that are eligible for a Blue Card also include beneficiaries of international protection with the right skillset, seasonal workers and ICT workers that have acquired their skills through professional experience rather than through educational qualifications.

“For the S&D Group, improving social protections under the revised rules was also crucially important, especially when it comes to fairer eligibility for unemployment protection and making sure family members of Blue Card holders are granted the same equal treatment as the families of any other worker.

“The Blue Card Directive revision is an important step towards opening up more channels for legal labour migration to the EU. In the future, we have to go further so that workers in medium and low-paid employment can come and contribute to society in the same beneficial way that Blue Card holders do now.”



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