Blue card

Carrot and Stick for Immigrants

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini attends a news conference at Colombia's Foreign Ministry in Bogota, Colombia, May 26, 2016. REUTERS/John Vizcaino
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has reformed the Blue Card scheme, dropping hurdles for immigrants who are well-qualified.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • The E.U. plans to attract control immigration by making it easier for high-skilled professionals to get work permits and paying countries to take back refugees.
  • Facts


    • The E.U. Commission Tuesday outlined plans to make it easier for skilled foreigners to obtain the Blue Card, similar to America’s Green Card.
    • The Commission also plans to reach deals with refugee transit countries like Lebanon, Libya and Niger to take back asylum-seekers and combat traffickers — similar to the E.U.’s deal with Turkey.
    • Plans to issue Blue Cards to skilled refugees could prove controversial because it would encourage illegal migration.
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The European Commission, the E.U.’s executive body, on Tuesday proposed curbing illegal immigration while offering to make it easier for qualified migrants to get work permits in the 28-nation bloc.

The E.U.’s executive presented a plan to reform its Blue Card scheme – similar to the U.S. Green Card – which hasn’t been widely used since it was launched in 2009.

It also plans to reach agreements with non-E.U. countries used as transit routes for refugees, such as Niger, Libya and Lebanon, to take back illegal immigrants and combat traffickers.

The two measures are aimed at limiting and controlling immigration after well over 1 million refugees and migrants reached Europe over the past year, mostly illegally and via dangerous routes across the Mediterranean.

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