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Blue Card scheme will lure qualified workers to plug EU skills gap

David Charter in Brussels
A single European work visa, to be known as a Blue Card, will be introduced alongside a global advertising campaign to attract thousands of “highly skilled” migrants, EU officials announced yesterday.
The visas, colored blue to match the EU flag, are intended to rival the American Green Card by offering permanent residency anywhere in Europe after five years’ work.
The card will be targeted at qualified migrants who will be able to bring their families with them after a 90-day application period as part of a programme to meet an estimated short-fall of 20 million skilled and non-skilled workers by 2030.
“We will have a shortage of labour in the future and this is already true of some sectors,” said José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, announcing details in Strasbourg yesterday. Plans for a common EU approach to non-skilled workers are also in the pipeline to combat illegal immigration.

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The idea of a visa giving full employment and social security rights to migrants has long been a dream of the European Commission to meet projected shortages of engineers, doctors and IT specialists as Europe’s population ages.
Officials in Brussels believe that the Blue Card will change the image of Europe as a destination mainly immigrants. Applicants for a card will need a job offer for at least a one-year contract.
In return, migrants will enjoy an equal level of social and employment rights to EU citizens, including pensions, housing and healthcare. They will also be allowed to move to any other EU country if they find a new job there after two years of residence in the sponsoring country.
The Government is preparing its own system where applicants from outside the EU will only qualify to work in Britain if they earn enough points under criteria such as qualifications, age and experience.
A record rise in immigration is helping to fuel a surge in the population, which is estimated to reach 71 million within 24 years, according to figures published yesterday (Richard Ford writes).
Immigration will add an extra one million people to the population over the next five years after the figures showed higher levels higher than the Government admitted only three weeks ago.
Net migration is estimated to reach a record 240,000 this year and will run at more than 200,000 a year for the next five years.
Three weeks ago the Office of National Statistics issued projections showing net migration running at 190,000 a year for the next 25 years - a revision from the 2005 estimate of 145,000 a year.

Engineers and scientists have always been a shortage in many developed countries and will always be the case.
kanzo, Kyoto , Japan
The new intended Blue Card would open fantastic opportunities for asian and african immigrants. For EU countries the issue would be different.
The immigrants in the second case would differentiate the merits of each and finally choose. I believe that the blue card should have enough compensation to lure the EU citizens.
Tayseer Abu Qurs, Kuwait, Kuwait
This sounds like a great idea. For years now the US is an easier place to emigrate to than Western Europe and hence more people go to the US - though many would prefer Europe as it is clearer a better place to live. The skills shortage is a long term issue and it’s good to start tackling it in now.
Geoffrey, Sydney,  So there is an imbalance of 'skilled' immigrant workers' destinations between the EU and the US?
 visa also valid for following countries   Pakistani Nationals obtain a Schengen visa which is also valid for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.


In search of graduates - German job market focuses on employees from abroad
Government wants to pull
out all the stops to make working and studying for foreigners in Germany as easy and convenient as possible.

 The lower House of German Parliament has already often discussed the question of immigration. Although, for a long time the fear of uncontrollable waves of immigration seemed to be preponderant, the boot is on the other foot now. “Die Zeit”, a weekly published German newspaper, recently published an article titled “The End of Deterrence”, which explains the changes in the German immigration policy. Due to an economic boom, German enterprises are putting more effort in the search of graduates and highly qualified workers. In the meantime, the government tries to relax just recently tightened immigration restrictions to make Germany more attractive for foreigners. Years ago, politicians already knew about the importance of foreign workers for the domestic economy. The demographical developments show the necessity for taking immediate action to solve the problem. Therefore, the Secretary of Education, Annette Schavan, wants to pull out all the stops to make working and studying for foreigners as easy and convenient as possible.

According to Die Zeit, the “Institute for the Future of Employment” in Bonn supposes that within 10 years there will be about 200.000 engineers missing on the German job market. The obsolesce of the German population in combination with the restrictive immigration policy calls for a rapid paradigm shift. Even Michael Sommer, chairman of the Federation of German Trade Unions, recognizes the importance to strengthen an immigration friendly policy.
Not only Germany, however, but also other industrial nations complain about the absence of highly qualified workers. Therefore, Germany needs to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and enhance working- and immigration terms and conditions in order to remain competitive. New regulation need to be introduced to facilitate job-seeking for foreign students without having to return home to do all the permission procedures.

Our team form Welcome Students has for a long time known about that problem. Therefore, we offer you a comprehensive variety of services. Our Personal Information Folder provides you with all the necessary information about studying in Germany, scholarships, language courses and visa regulations. It is our aim to assist you as good as possible with the preparations for your study stay in Germany! We can do all the admission work, visa application, university application, search a suitable apartment for you and pretty much all you can think of related to working and studying in Germany.

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