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The EU Blue Card Directive for highly-skilled workers will be enforced from 1 August 2012, the Federal Minister of Economics, Philipp Rösler, announced as the German Parliament has passed a bill making the migration from workers outside the EU easier.
This new legislation implements the EU Blue Card scheme, a common policy on immigration, which will act as a single work permit and residence permit for qualified migrants. This allows holders to work and live in the EU for an initial two years and after five years Blue Card holders can then apply for permanent residence.
In Germany, workers are granted a three-year residence permit and can later bring in their families when applying for permanent residency. But if language skills are proficient, Blue Card holders can already apply for permanent residency after two years.
To receive a Blue Card, applicants need to possess an employment contract by an EU employer, as well as having valid professional and educational qualifications.
Only those who have a gross annual salary of at least €44,800 can apply for the work permit in Germany, which sees a sharp drop from the threshold of €66,000 currently in place. In some areas experiencing an acute skills shortage, such as in engineering, ICT and medicine, the minimum wage threshold falls further to €34,944.