By Moustafa Daly
The Italian Council of Ministers just approved a decree that expands eligibility for skilled foreigners to obtain the EU Blue Card, a special kind of work permit.
The approval comes after the European Union (EU) called upon member states to comply with Directive 2021/1883, which regulates the issuance of blue cards across the union.
In effect, the approval eases terms of entry and residence for skilled foreign nationals.
“I believe that the new rules implemented for the EU Blue Card in Italy certainly represent a step forward in the direction of facilitating the entrance in Italy of talents and skilled workers,” explains Alessia Ajelli, lawyer at LCA Studio Legale.
“These changes, among others, should create more favorable conditions to attract and keep non-EU highly qualified workers in our country.”
What are the new rules for EU Blue Card in Italy?
As announced by the ministers’ council, unregulated foreign labor and skilled non-EU workers can now pursue Italy’s Blue Card if they have a two-year university degree, post-secondary professional qualifications, or five years of professional experience in a sector relevant to the job offer they received in Italy, explains Marco Mazzeschi, founder of Mazzeschi Law Firm.
For managers and specialist workers in the IT and communication fields, “three years of professional experience (acquired in the previous 7 years) is required,” he explains.
Notable among the rules is that now Blue Card applicants don’t need to hold university degrees but should “have a significant and extended experience in their work sector,” explains Ajelli.
Also, to be eligible, candidates must have work offers/contracts with a minimum duration of six months. Previously, it had to be one year at minimum. Similarly, applicants now have an “obligation to remain in the same field of activity for the first 12 months from the entrance in Italy instead of the original 24 months,” she elaborates.
Unclear requirements could obstruct Italy’s Blue Card
Mazzeschi cautions against vague requirements, which could hinder the efficient adoption of the new rules.
“The problem is that we do not know yet the requirements that will be set for proving the educational qualification or professional experience in terms of documents and how,” he explains.
“In practice, each Immigration Office will interpret the new law,” he predicts, further elaborating that there are over 100 immigration offices in Italy, meaning that the unclarity on these requirements may cause discrepancies across different local immigration offices.
What is the EU Blue Card?
Launched in 2019, the EU Blue Card is a work permit and residence scheme designed to attract highly skilled non-EU nationals to work in the European Union member states. It’s understood to be modeled after the U.S. Green Card, aiming to address skill shortages and promote economic growth within the EU.
One of the key benefits of the EU Blue Card is that it offers a fast-track path to legal employment and residence in an EU country. Cardholders can live and work in the country that issued the Blue Card and have the flexibility to move to other EU member states, provided they meet certain conditions. This mobility within the EU job market enhances career opportunities and facilitates cross-border labor integration.
Additionally, family members of Blue Card holders are allowed to join them and enjoy various social rights and access to education and the labor market.
Earlier this year, Spain also introduced its Blue Card program in compliance with the new EU Blue Card Directives.
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