Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Human Resources: EU plans "Blue Card" for migrant workers

The European Union is proposing a blue card to attract skilled workers to Europe in the face of an aging population and a declining birth rate.

The European Union says it will need 20 million skilled migrant workers during the next 20 years to plug labor gaps in the developed world. The so-called Blue Card would lure the workers by making it easier for them to work in another E.U. country, have their family join them, receive public housing and get long-term residency status.

To qualify for a blue card, a migrant would need an E.U. job contract of at least two year guaranteeing a salary of at least three times the minimum wage in the country to which they are applying and health insurance.

The plan aims to attract information technology specialists, engineers, doctors, nurses and other highly-qualified workers from Asia, Africa and Latin America, who have been flocking to North America and Australia.

The proposals have already faced opposition from trade unions, who fear the blue card could undermine training opportunities for E.U. workers.