Posted on January 13, 2005

EU Considers Introduction of ‘Green Card’ Plan, January 12, 2005

The European Union could launch a ‘green card’ system to attract expats with special skills into the bloc, it was revealed.

Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini told reporters permanent work visas based on “the American model” is one of the options the EU is considering as part of a plan to get EU members to agree on immigration rules, the Associated Press reported.

The move is part of a European Commission plan to stimulate public debate on the need to develop a comprehensive EU strategy to manage economic migration.

Frattini said economic migrants “represent an undeniable advantage to our member states” and would help the EU rival the US in competitiveness.

The EU is also considering putting immigrants with skills that fill gaps in the labour market on a ‘fast track’ immigration process. This would admit immigrants through a very quick procedure.

American green cards give immigrants the right to live and work permanently in the United States.

Germany launched in August 2000 a green card system aimed at filling the gaps in the nation’s labour force by drawing in IT and high-tech specialists.

Under the scheme foreigners and their families are permitted to live in Germany for a maximum of five years to work in the IT sector.

But gaining German citizenship remains a politically sensitive issue in the nation so, unlike the US Green Cards, the German version does not automatically lead to naturalisation.