The proposed scheme would roughly correspond to the US green card scheme giving immigrants the right to work and live in a new country.
The new scheme would fulfil two functions:
- Firstly it will simplify the application procedure, in response to increasing demands for highly qualified non-EU workers by EU companies. This would encourage job and geographical mobility linked to known job vacancies.
- Secondly, a single application procedure would give non-EU applicants a single permit to reside and work in the EU.
The proposals would also give set of rights for non-Eu workers in Member States.
According to EU Vice President Franco Frattini, the EU must open up to skilled labour.
"For too many years we took the idea that European reunification sufficed for our ambitions. It is not the case.
"The "Blue Card" means that - while respecting the principle of preference granted to European citizens, Europe opens to competition for talent with the United States, Canada and Australia.
"It is a change of rate/rhythm which takes place, and also philosophy, which will make our identity common more responsible, more committedm," he said.