Are you a highly-qualified worker wishing to work in an EU country? If so, you might be able to get an EU Blue Card. Here you can find out what a European Blue Card is, how to apply for one and learn more about the rights that an EU Blue Card holder can enjoy.
The EU Blue Card Scheme
The EU Blue Card Scheme is designed to make Europe a more attractive destination for professionals from outside the European Union. All EU member states, except the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland, participate in the EU Blue Card scheme.
Highly qualified persons have opted in the past for destinations such as the United States, Canada or Australia. The European initiative has a number of distinctive qualities that will help Europe become the world’s most favourite migration destination:
- Working and salary conditions equal to nationals
- Free movement within the Schengen area
- Entitlement to a series of socio-economic rights (e.g. unemployment benefit)
- Favourable conditions for family reunification
- Permanent residence perspective
- Freedom of association
The EU blue card system aims to make Europe a player on the emerging global labour market, enhancing its competitiveness and luring highly skilled workers to Europe. The system is based on the rationale that Europe is stronger when it works together to attract skilled workers than as individual Member States.
What are ‘Higher professional qualifications’?
Higher professional qualifications are:
(1) qualifications attested by evidence of higher education qualifications of studies that lasted at least three years. This means any diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualifications issued by a competent authority attesting the successful completion of a post-secondary higher education programme. This must be a set of courses provided by an educational establishment recognised as a higher education institution by the State in which it is situated.
Foreign educational qualifications usually need to be recognised by the Member States in question. This means that you need a formal acknowledgement by a competent authority of the validity of a foreign qualification with a view to access to educational and/or employment activities.
(2) Lithuania also allows for relevant professional experience to be taken into account. This must be at least five years of professional experience of a level comparable to higher education qualifications and which is relevant in the profession or sector specified in the work contract or binding job offer. Professional experience means the actual and lawful pursuit of the profession concerned.
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The Blue Card Requirements
Three key requirements are to be met in order to request the EU Blue Card.
- Non-EU citizenship
- Educated or professionally experienced
- Work contract or binding job offer
Your profile in the EU Blue Card Network has a double function: it can be consulted by employers so that they can offer you a job contract. Secondly, it enables you to submit your application.
A person or his employer must submit an application for an EU Blue Card to the competent national authorities in the country where you wish to work. Depending on the rules in that country, you may have to pay an application fee.
A Lithuanian Blue Card is usually issued for 3 years. If the term of the labour contract is for a shorter period, a Blue Card may be issued for the duration of the contract plus 3 months.
Family members of the Lithuanian Blue Card holder are also allowed to reside in the Republic of Lithuania. They will be issued a permit to temporarily reside in Lithuania for the same duration as their Blue-Card-holding family member.
The examination of document for Lithuanian EU Blue Card takes more or less 2 months, but if applicants specialization is in the list of needed specialists, the process would take only a month.
However, the national authorities will reject your Blue Card application if:
– You do not meet the Blue Card rules outlined above;
– Your application was based on incorrect or false information;
– A person presents a threat to public policy, public security or public health.
National authorities may reject the application if:
– A national or EU worker, or an already legally present non-EU citizen, could fill the vacancy;
– The employer has been found guilty of employing irregular migrants without the necessary documents;
– The home country lacks qualified workers in your sector.
EU countries may set an upper limit on the number of non-EU citizens who can enter their country for highly-qualified work.
The Blue card Benefits
As a holder of an EU Blue Card, you are guaranteed equal treatment with citizens of the host country as regards:
– Working conditions;
– Professional education and training;
– Recognition of diplomas and qualifications;
– Social security and
– Access to goods and services offered to the public (e.g. transport, museums, restaurants, etc.)
With a Lithuanian EU Blue Card, it will be easier to get long-term residence status, as the rules for calculating the period of time necessary are more generous.
After those first two years, you may be able to change jobs and/or employers, but EU countries have different rules on this. A person can apply to bring his family to live with him in the country which issues the EU Blue Card as long as he and they meet all the conditions.
An important benefit is that with the EU Blue Card, a person can visit other EU countries for up to three months during a six-month period. You can also travel through other EU countries on your way to the EU country that you live and work in.
If you become unemployed, you have three months to find a new job. If you are still unemployed after three months, your Lithuanian EU Blue Card may be withdrawn. If that happens, you may have to leave the country. If you overstay the validity period of your EU Blue Card, you will find yourself in an irregular situation and may be required to leave the country.