SWEDEN – EU Blue Card Now Available
Sweden has announced that it will now accept applications for EU Blue Cards, effective 1 August 2013. The Blue Card, brought in by Council Directive 2009/50/EC, is a measure brought in back in June 2011 to attract highly skilled individuals into the EU. The Blue Card either has already been or will be implemented in all EU member states other than Denmark, the UK and Ireland (which have all opted out).
Advantages of the EU Blue Card
Blue Cards offer some benefits over standard work authorisation applications. The highlights are as set out below; more information can be found by looking at Peregrine’s EU Blue Card infographic here or viewing our EU Blue Card webinar, run in conjunction with EuRA, on this subject last year (available here).
- Blue Cards can be issued for an initial period of up to four years, provided the employment contract is valid for this period
- After the first two years, the Blue Card holder may change employer within the original host country without needing to seek prior authorisation, and need only notify the authorities;
- Improved mobility across the EU – after a minimum period of 18 months in the first host country (the country which granted the Blue Card), Blue Card holders will have the right to work as highly skilled employees in another EU member state – subject to that state’s approval;
- The Blue Card will lead to permanent residency (EC long-term resident status) after five years, provided the Blue Card holder has spent the two years immediately prior to the application continuously residing in one EU member state (which would be the state where the permanent residency application would be submitted);
- Adult dependents of a Blue Card holder should be granted work permission. (however, in Sweden, adult dependents of work permit holders are granted work permission in any case)
Blue Card Qualifying Criteria
Blue card applicants must meet certain qualifying criteria, as follows:
- The applicant must have a valid local employment offer or contact for at least one year;
- The applicant must hold higher professional or five years of high level professional, relevant work experience plus any specific qualifications needed for the specific profession;
- Salary must be at least 1.5x the average gross salary in Sweden, as determined by the Swedish Migration Board in cooperation with the Swedish National Mediation Office, the authority in charge of Sweden's official salary statistics. For 2013, the minimum salary threshold is SEK 44,700/month.
Disadvantages of the Blue Card
The Blue Card application in Sweden cannot be expedited, which means that processing time may be several months – as opposed to one to two weeks for the standard work permit.
- Note that Blue Cards are now available in Sweden but that processing time is significantly longer than for standard work permit applications. Contact Peregrine, or Newcomers directly, for more advice on the matter.