On January 1, 2013, new minimum salary requirements became effective for Blue Card holders in Germany. The annual salary of a first-year blue card holder must be at least EUR46.400 (EUR3.867 per month). Those working in shortage occupation activities will require a minimum salary of EUR36.192 (EUR3.016 per month). The blue card program in Germany, as envisioned by EU directives, looks to attract highly skilled and educated non-EU employees to work and stay in Germany. In order to apply for a blue card at a German Consulate, an applicant is required to provide a German or foreign accredited university degree that is comparable to a German degree and a work contract that complies with the minimum salary requirements. Certain regulated professions will require “recognition” of the foreigners education and qualifications. The blue card is issued up to four years, or for the duration of the employment contract, plus three months. Holders can apply for permanent residency after twenty-one months if they have German language knowledge or after 33 months if they don’t.