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Spotlight on EMEA Series: Luxembourg

In our Spotlight on EMEA series we round up the latest immigration developments across the regions.  In this post we look at Luxembourg’s new law which focuses on implementing EU provisions in favour of non-European highly qualified employees, the aim being to streamline the EU Blue Card system and make it more adaptable to local labour market needs. 

 

Background

On May 15, 2024, the Luxembourg Parliament adopted draft bill No. 8304 (“Law”), which aims to implement Directive (EU) 2021/1883 of October 20, 2021, on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment (“Directive”).

In a bid to address issues of skills shortages and to better facilitate entry for highly qualified workers into Luxembourg, the primary goal of the Directive is to update the EU Blue Card rules providing a more effective and targeted legal migration system.  Primarily this would result in creating a range of more favourable conditions across a number of areas including minimum wage thresholds and family reunification.

Key Points

Flexible admission criteria: Required work contract duration for EU Blue Card holders is reduced from one year to six months.  The EU Blue Card is designed to attract highly qualified professionals from non EU countries through a simplified immigration process.  The card provides such highly skilled individuals with a right to work and reside in the EU enhancing their legal status once they are in the EU. 

Admission/Eligibility Critria: Professional qualifications must be demonstrated through higher education or equivalent skills with at least five years of relevant experience. Salary thresholds, harmonised across the EU, will be determined by each member state based on the average gross annual salary, ranging from one to 1.6 times this amount. Lower thresholds may apply for specific professions or recent graduates.

Rights and conditions for EU Blue Card holders: The EU Blue Card scheme enhances the rights of highly skilled professionals working and residing in the EU on this basis.  The new law proposes more favourable conditions including:

  • Allowing the third country national to remain in Luxembourg during any renewal procedure even in the event that the EU Blue Card expires.
  • Extension of access to the labour market allowing EU Blue Card holders to inform the Minister of any professional changes within the first 12 months.  Once this period has passed the EU Blue Card holder will enjoy equal treatment with nationals except where a role specifically requires Luxembourg nationality.
  • Changes to withdrawal of an EU Blue Card in the event of unemployment.  Generally the Blue Card will not be withdrawn on the basis of unemployment except if it exceeds three months within the first two years or six months after that.
  • Former EU Blue Card holders from another member state with long term resident status may work in Luxembourg without meeting specific conditions.
  • EU Blue Card holders will have the right to undertake subsidiary self-employment activities and have access to vocational and other educational training.

Mobility of EU Blue Card Holders: The Law aims to enhance mobility for EU Blue Card holders in Luxembourg. For stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, holders of a valid EU Blue Card from another member state would be exempt from visa and work permit requirements for “business activities.” This includes various work-related tasks such as meetings, negotiations, marketing activities and training. If the EU Blue Card is issued by a state that does not apply the Schengen acquis, additional documentation is required for a 90-day stay. For stays of over three months, the Law seeks to reduce the period for mobility from 18 to 12 months, or even six months for subsequent mobility. Applicants can start working immediately after submitting their residence permit application in the second member state, and a decision must be reached within 30 days, extendable in complex cases.

 

Family Reunification

The Law addresses family reunification, allowing family members to enter and reside in Luxembourg before applying for a residence permit if they already hold a valid permit from the first member state. The process is now streamlined by issuing residence permits simultaneously with the EU Blue Card and provides an accelerated procedure if the family joins post-EU Blue Card approval, ensuring a permit within 30 days.

The changes to administrative processes also ensure that any residence permit issued by the Minister for Luxembourg ensures that the recipient can obtain the required entry visa where necessary.

If you would like assistance with EU Blue Card applications or information on the Schengen area generally please contact [email protected] and [email protected].

 

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