IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The salary threshold for EU Blue Card holders is scheduled to increase in January.

What does the change mean? The minimum gross annual salary for non-shortage occupations will increase to €52,000 (from €50,800 in 2017). For shortage occupations, the minimum salary will increase to €40,560 (from €39,624 in 2017).

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: EU Blue Cards.
  • Who is affected: German companies sponsoring non-EU nationals on EU Blue Cards.
  • Business impact: Businesses may see a slight increase in labor costs.
  • Next steps: New and renewal applications for EU Blue Cards starting Jan. 1 or later must meet the new salary levels.

Background: EU Blue Card salaries are indexed annually. For non-shortage occupations, employers who meet the minimum income level are not required to obtain approval of the Federal Employment Agency for issuance of EU Blue Cards. In shortage occupations, Blue Card applicants usually require agency approval, except when the foreign employee holds a German university degree. Shortage occupations include information and communications specialists, engineers, medical doctors and mathematicians. EU Blue Cards are only available to foreign nationals with a local contract to work in Germany and who hold a degree from a German university or an accredited foreign equivalent.

BAL Analysis: The new salary levels represent about a 2.4 percent increase over this year’s thresholds that employers should factor into their 2018 budgets.