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Blue Card EU

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The EU Blue Card is a verification document for the legal residence of non-EU citizens (e.g. from China, India, USA) within an EU Member State for the purpose of employment. For EU nationals, by the EU mobility laws, it is already possible to work in any EU-member-state – without bureaucracy.

The implementation law of the Directive on entry of highly skilled workers of the European Union (Council Directive 2009/50/EC) of the Blue Card EU (for Germany: § 19a Residence Act) was introduced on 1 August 2012. With its effectiveness, obtaining work permits for so-called third-country nationals became much easier. Non-EU citizens with a university degree that is recognized in an EU member state (e.g. Germany) or a university degree comparable to a local one are entitled to the EU Blue Card as well as third-country nationals with a concrete job offer.

Situation in Germany: Lower minimum salary in shortage occupations

The Blue Card requires a minimum annual salary which diverges in Germany between two different kinds of occupation, those with a shortage of supply on the German labor market and all other occupations. For applicants applying for shortage-occupation positions in 2022 a minimum amount of 43.992 Euros were required as base salary to be eligible to receive an EU Blue Card. The following jobs are defined as shortage occupations:

  • Human medicines
  • IT Specialists
  • Engineers
  • Mathematicians
  • Scientists

For applicants of all other occupations, the minimum salary in 2022 was 56.400 Euros.

A permanent residence permit is possible

The initial issuing of the EU Blue Card is limited to a maximum of four years. If the duration of the employment contract is less than four years, the Blue Card will be issued for the duration of the work contract plus 3 months. Family members of the holder of an EU Blue Card (this includes spouses and minor unmarried children) will automatically receive a residence permit.

After 33 months of employment, the holder of an EU Blue Card will receive a permanent residence permit if regular pension plan contributions have been paid during the period of employment. This 33-month period will be reduced to 21 months if the employee has sufficient knowledge of the German language.

The majority of workers came from India

During 2013 a total of 4,651 employees migrated to Germany using an EU Blue Card. 2,786 of them, almost 60%, worked in non-shortage occupations, and 1.865 (40%) were employed in so-called shortage occupations. The majority of workers came from India (21.9%), followed by the Russian Federation (9.6%) and the United States of America (6.8%).

Two years after the introduction of the EU Blue Card, on July 31, 2014, about 17,700 employees, migrated with the aid of the EU Blue Card, were recorded in the central register of foreigners of Germany, differing in about 55% working within a non-shortage occupation and another 45% within a shortage occupation.

Situation for Bulgaria

To qualify for a Blue Card in Bulgaria, the applicant has to prove that the Gross wage specified in his or her contract is at least 1½ times higher than the average salary in Bulgaria. This is to be calculated on available data for the last 12 months before the conclusion of the employment contract. Furthermore, the employer has to prove that he tried to fill his vacancy with candidates from Bulgaria or any other EU member state unsuccessfully and that it was not possible to qualify one of his employees to accept the particular position.

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