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Pearle* welcomes revised EU Blue Card

The industry body supports the overhaul of 'Europe's Green Card', but says the EC should go further if it really wants to attract more skilled non-EU artists

By IQ on 08 Dec 2016

EU Blue Card

image © EU Blue Card Network

European live industry body Pearle* has tentatively welcomed moves by the European Union (EU) to encourage increased take-up of its Blue Card permits for non-EU artists.

The EU Blue Card – pitched as “Europe’s answer to the US Green Card” work and residence permit – was launched in 2009 but has, says the European Commission (EC), “proven insufficient and unattractive so far, and is therefore underused”.

The EC on 7 June adopted an ‘Action Plan on Integration’, revising the Blue Card scheme to “make it easier and more attractive for highly skilled third-country nationals [EU-ese for those from non-EU countries] to come and work in the EU and strengthen our economic growth”, said migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), which represents more than 7,000 music and performing arts organisations across Europe, says, “in general”, it supports the EC’s Action Plan – which, among other things, lowers the salary threshold for “highly skilled migrants” and establishes a single EU-wide Blue Card programme, replacing parallel national schemes – which “addresses a number of concerns which Pearle* had already formulated prior to the 2009 directive, including scope, salary threshold, duration of the work contract, validity and the meaning of ‘highly qualified'”.

The Blue Card has “proven insufficient and unattractive so far, and is therefore underused”

However, at its general meeting in Zurich on 25 and 26 November, Pearle* members made several suggestions the organisation says could be implemented to “reap the full benefits” of the new Blue Card scheme. They include:

  • Allowing artists to access Blue Cards based on “reputation, talent and professional recognition, [allowing for] derogation of young but highly talented artistic professionals” (the new Blue Card rules define “highly qualified” as university-educated)
  •  The EC currently requires Blue Card migrants to be earning above the average gross salary in the EU, but Pearle* suggests salary thresholds should be “in line with collective agreement and wage practices in the sectors concerned”
  • A reduction in the “excessively long” 60-day deadline for application approval to “30 days, and 15 days in case of a recognised employer”

Read Pearle*’s full Blue Card report here.

Brussels-based Pearle* in October secured an exemption for musical instruments from UN rules on endangered flora and fauna.


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