The Council of the European Union has created a fasttrack procedure for issuing a special residence and work permit, the “EU Blue Card,” for third-country citizens in highly qualified employment. Under the rules set by the directive, EU Blue Card holders will enjoy equal treatment with nationals of the member state issuing the Blue Card regarding:
- working conditions, including pay and dismissal;
- freedom of association;
- education, training, and recognition of qualifications;
- a number of provisions in national law regarding social security and pensions;
- access to goods and services, including procedures for obtaining housing,
- information and counseling services; and
- free access to the entire territory of the member state concerned within the limits provided for by national law.
Following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU, the member states will have two years to incorporate the new provisions into their domestic legislation. The announcement is available here.