Global Migration Digest

November 2013 (Vol. 2, No. 1)

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BLUE CARD from pg.1 >> nationals with regard to working conditions, social security, pensions, recognition of diplomas, education and vocational training. related to intra-company work permits. Furthermore, thanks to the Blue Card, it is easier for employees to obtain permanent residence. Status of Implementation Spain In Spain, the minimum salary must be at least 1.5 times the minimum salary set by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) for the employer's National Classification of Business Activities (CNAE) activity code. In contract to the requirements of the Directive, it is mandatory to have a four-year university degree or a minimum of a three-year university degree related to the job position offered. If academic qualifications are missed, a minimum of 5-year professional experience (comparable to an academic qualification) is required. The Directive was to be incorporated into the national legislation by each participating Member State by June 19, 2011. UK, Ireland and Denmark opted out of the Directive, therefore the relevant provisions do not apply to these States. Most of the participating Member States have now implemented the Directive: Italy In Italy the minimum salary threshold is €24,789/year. The Blue Card has been quite successful in Italy. The reason is that this mechanism allows employers to overcome the shortcomings related to the quotas availability issued by the Italian Government. France In France, the minimum salary threshold is €52,725/year. Except for some delays from the authorities, obtaining work permits is a smooth process. French companies heavily rely on the Blue Card system for two reasons. This system allows for overcoming the increasing restrictions Germany In Germany, the minimum salary thresholds were initially set to €44.800 for academics and €34.499 for the other job categories (shortage occupations). Since 1st, January 2013 these have been slightly increased to €46,400 and €36,192 respectively. An assessment of the Blue Card in Germany shows that its success is limited. This is due to the fact that by obtaining a Blue Card, the employee can freely change job, thus leaving companies in a state of uncertainty. Holland In Holland, the minimum salary threshold is €60,952. The diploma validation is not an obstacle; it is done by a Dutch government organization in the Netherlands (IDW). The Blue Card has not been very popular in Holland: in 2011 and 2012 only few Blue Cards have been granted. The reason for the limited success of the Blue Card in Holland is that its prerequisites (documents and threshold) are stricter than the Dutch Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme that already exists. Belgium In Belgium, the threshold (2012) for the annual gross salary has been set at €49,995. Only a few applications have been filed at this point. This is most likely due to the existence of the "Permit B" scheme, which enables the hiring of highly skilled workers at more favorable conditions (e.g. lower threshold and faster processing time) than the Blue Card. United Kingdom: Same-Sex Marriage by Matthew Amoils F ollowing a long awaited trend of enlightened law making in countries such as New Zealand and France, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 gained Royal Assent in the United Kingdom on 17th July 2013 and should come into full force in mid-2014. This Act will allow samesex couples to marry on an equal footing with opposite-sex couples as well as make legal the gender changes of married persons and civil partners. In an immigration context, this means that once the whole of the Act has come into force any citizen may marry their CONTINUED on pg.3 >> Information on the individual jurisdictions was provided by Karl Waheed (France) Mounia Jrabi (Spain) Gunther Mavers (Germany) Sanders Groen (Holland) and Bernard Caris (Belglium). 2

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