The EU Policy to Attract Highly Skilled Workers: The Status of Implementation of the Blue Card Directive

Marco Mazzeschi


A worldwide shortage of about 38-40 million highly skilled workers is forecast by 2020. Many countries are implementing policies to attract workers with special skills and knowledge. What is the European Union doing to face this challenge? In 2009 the EU adopted the so called Blue Card Directive (n. 2009/50) to attract highly qualified workers from abroad, address labour and skills shortages and strengthen the EU’s competitiveness and economic growth. The Directive was implemented by most EU countries during 2012 but has proven to be insufficiently attractive and underused, with only a limited number of Blue Cards issued. For these reasons, the EU Commission has announced some proposed changes to the Blue Card Directive. The specific objectives are, amongst other things, to increase the numbers of third-country highly skilled workers immigrating to the EU and simplify and harmonise admission procedures for third-country highly skilled workers.

The article also outlines a summary of the current state of implementation of the Directive in the following countries: Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands.

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Copyright (c) 2016 Marco Mazzeschi

Journal of Management and Sustainability   ISSN 1925-4725 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4733 (Online)   E-mail:


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