This paper analyses the attractiveness of the EU’s Blue Card Directive – the flagship of the EU’s labour immigration policy – for so-called ‘highly qualified’ immigrant workers from outside the EU. For this purpose, the paper deconstructs the understanding of ‘attractiveness’ in the Blue Card Directive as shaped by the various EU decision-making actors during the legislative process. It is argued that the Blue Card Directive sets forth minimum standards providing for a common floor – not a common ceiling: the Directive did not, as originally envisaged by the European Commission, create one European highly skilled admission scheme. This raises questions regarding its concrete use. A critical focus is placed on the personal scope of the Blue Card Directive and the level of rights offered, and a first comparative perspective on the implementation of the Directive in five member states is provided.
Katharina Eisele is Researcher in the Justice and Home Affairs research unit at the Centre for European Policy Studies.