UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The blue card : EU's race for talent Nielsen, Johanna Sofia


In recent years Brussels has recognized that certain regions and sectors in the EU are in need of migrants in order to deal with economic and demographic needs. All Member States of the European Union are affected by the flow of international migration, and have therefore realized that a new approach to manage migration is necessary. The so called ‘global war on talent’ has also intensified over the past years, and as an effort to become an attractive player in this ‘war’ the European Commission has put forth a proposal for a directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment. This directive is more commonly known as the European Union Blue Card and it does not aim to replace the 27 immigration systems of the Member States; instead it offers an additional channel of entry. This paper examines the Blue Card scheme as well as compares it with the US H1B and the Green Card in order to see if the Blue Card is able to improve EU’s position in the competition for the ‘best and the brightest’. It also reveals that the Blue Card is suffering from inherent design problems weakening its potential. These issues are compounded by the necessary investments in language skills and the risk of migrants being subjected to xenophobia. This paper concludes that not only does the Blue Card scheme need more added value for the EU to alter its competitive disadvantage, but it is also imperative that the EU changes its attitude towards immigration. In addition, EU is in need of all skill levels and the Blue Card may be able to prepare the ground for further policy change in other areas of migration.

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