New EU Blue Card Regulations

Published on April 15th, 2024

In June 2023, a new immigration law was passed to make it easier for skilled workers to move to Germany for employment. Here we explain how this new legislature has affected the EU Blue Card, Europe’s residence permit for highly-qualified individuals

Minimum salary lowered

Before the new law, an employee had to earn €58,400 annually to qualify for an EU Blue Card. This was lowered when the new law came into force in November 2023. As of January 2024, the Blue Card requires an annual salary of €45,300 with a lower threshold of €41,041.80 for “bottleneck professions”. Bottleneck professions are those with a shortage of skilled workers. These currently include mathematics, IT, science, engineering and human medicine. The list of bottleneck professions has been extended considerably.

More professions eligible

The EU Blue Card is now available to more people. For example, those who have graduated from universities abroad within the past 3 years are eligible if they secure a job with the required salary. IT specialists can also apply for a Blue Card without a degree as long as they have 3 years of relevant professional experience. The list of bottleneck professions has also been extended, resulting in a significant increase in the number of candidates who qualify for a Blue Card.

Short-term and long-term mobility

Holders of Blue Cards issued by other Member States can spend up to 90 days in Germany for work purposes directly related to their employment without applying for an additional visa or work permit. Furthermore, after 12 months in another Member State with an EU Blue Card, long-term residence in Germany is possible without an entry visa. However, an EU Blue Card must be applied for from the foreigner’s office after arrival in Germany.

Family reunifications simplified

EU Blue Card holders and their families who have already lived together in another EU Member State now have special privileges when it comes to family reunifications. They can use their existing residence permit from the previous Member State to enter Germany and live here without applying for an entry visa. The stipulations requiring sufficient living space and ability to secure livelihood to be proven for residence permits issued in Germany also no longer apply.

Prospects with a Blue Card

EU Blue Card holders can obtain a settlement permit after living in Germany for 27 months if they can prove German language skills at A1 level. This time period is reduced to 21 months if the candidate achieves B1 level German language skills.

Getting help

If you are interested in applying for an EU Blue Card or want to know more about whether these new changes affect you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Expats Guide so that we can advise you, we will be happy to help!

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Jenny Leibe

Jenny is a British citizen who has been living in Germany (Heidelberg, Berlin, Marbach am Neckar) since 2008. She has also lived in Scotland, England, Sweden, and Spain. She has plenty of experience in moving to new countries and getting to know new cultures and is now putting these to good use in her work as a Relocation Consultant.

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