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EU’s new scheme for migrants

india Updated: Oct 25, 2007 03:08 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

A great opportunity awaits Indian skilled workers, including engineers, IT experts, MBAs, and legal experts, with the European Union (EU) having devised the Blue Card scheme-- akin to Green Card in the US- to attract workers from outside EU, to work and settle in the member countries. The EU plans to bring an extra 20 million Asian and African workers into the Union in the next two decades.

The plan was unveiled by immigration commissioner Franco Frattini. He explained that the Blue Card, similar to the U.S. green card, would entitle migrants with more than three years' work experience or a university degree to work in a member state under "fast-track" immigration reforms. They would be able to bring in their families after six months.

Frattini described the scheme as a global job advertising blitz to attract engineers, doctors, nurses and IT workers from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Europe's economy has skills gaps caused by a declining, ageing population, but the US is currently a far more attractive destination for many qualified workers. EU hopes to divert the flow by the attractive offer through the Blue Card scheme.

The scheme, HT was told by a senior Brussels officer, is specially directed towards Asia and Africa as " we find that skilled people from these regions tend to go to America and Britain more".

He expects and "hopes" more Indians will qualify as the number of graduates and engineers in India have been coming out of universities in "huge numbers".

There has been an immediate outcry in Britain, because as it is predicted that the population because of the immigrants is slated to rise beyond 70 million. But, this is due to the flow from the European countries, which cannot be stopped under EU migration rules.

Britain has indicated that it would out of the scheme as it is not bound by EU policy on immigration and asylum. But blue card-holders would be allowed to enter the UK by the "back door" because the scheme allows workers and their families to move to a second EU country of their choice after two years. They can also apply to stay permanently after five consecutive years in any EU state.