Blue card for foreigners: how to get it and what benefits does it bring?

A highly qualified workforce, increasing competitiveness, and equalising the gap between regions – these are some of the terms associated with the concept of blue cards. These are also the main reasons why this type of permit has been introduced in the territory of the European Union. The blue card is a permit whose primary objective is to attract skilled foreigners from third countries to the EU. It is valid in most EU countries (except Denmark and Ireland), which guarantees a uniform approach to the employment of foreigners. Thanks to a number of advantages for holders, this type of permit has become increasingly popular in recent years.

How to get a blue card

The blue card is suitable for foreigners from third countries who will work in the Czech Republic for at least three months full-time. It serves simultaneously as a residence and work permit and can be requested by foreigners who have completed university education or higher vocational education of at least three years.

In addition to standard documents such as proof of accommodation, an extract from the foreigner’s criminal record and proof of the corresponding required qualification, the application for a blue card should also include a full-time employment contract or a similar document confirming that the foreigner will receive the corresponding salary. This must be at least 1.5 times the average annual gross wage. Therefore, from 1 May 2021, the minimum gross monthly wage for foreigners with a blue card will be CZK 53,416.50.

The application for the blue card is submitted at the relevant representative office of the Czech Republic abroad or in the territory of the Czech Republic at the workplace of the Department for Asylum and Migration Policy of the Ministry of the Interior if the foreigner already has another long-term residence permit for more than 90 days. On the contrary, it is not possible to apply for a blue card in the Czech Republic if the foreigner has, for example, a short-term work visa. However, there is one exception where it is possible to apply for a blue card in the Czech Republic, which you can read about in our article below.

The blue card can be issued for a maximum of two years depending on the length of the employment contract, even if the foreigner has a contract for an indefinite period. The blue card is issued in the form of a biometric card. According to the law, the deadline for issuing a decision is 90 days. The validity of the blue card can be repeatedly extended by submitting an application for an extension in the Czech Republic, by default no earlier than 120 days before the end of its validity.

Benefits for blue card holders

  • A foreigner who has held a blue card for more than two years has the opportunity to change his/her employer, job or place of work. Although in the first two years it is necessary to ask the Ministry of the Interior for approval of such change in advance, including the entry of a job vacancy report in the labour office register, this obligation is abolished in the following years and replaced only by the obligation to report the change to the Ministry of the Interior within three working days. The mere termination of employment should be reported within the same period. You should also bear in mind that even after two years, the number of the job vacancy report must be included in the notification. Furthermore, the blue card holder should not remain unemployed for more than three months.
  • Another advantage is the fact that family members of the blue card applicant can apply directly for a long-term residence permit for the purpose of family reunification. It is therefore not necessary for the applicant’s family to apply for long-term visas. Based on a long-term stay for the purpose of family reunification, a foreigner gains for example free access to the labour market; however, the procedure for obtaining a long-term stay for the purpose of family reunification can take up to 270 days.
  • A considerable advantage of blue cards also lies in facilitating migration within the other states of the European Union. A foreigner with a blue card issued in an EU member state has the possibility of applying for a blue card directly in the territory of another member state within 30 days of arrival in the territory. It is therefore not necessary to travel back to the home state to submit an application at the representative office. At the same time, however, it should be stressed that a foreigner is not entitled to work in the Czech Republic on the basis of a blue card issued by another EU state, i.e. the fiction of employment does not apply here.
  • A foreigner with a blue card also has a simplified possibility of obtaining permanent residence in the territory of the European Union because the period of five years of residence required for the possibility of applying for permanent residence is summed across all states. Therefore, if a foreigner stays in Poland for two years on the basis of a blue card and then moves to the Czech Republic, he/she has the opportunity to submit this application already after three years of residence in the Czech Republic. In order for your stay to be included, you need to stay in an EU member state for at least 18 months.

We will be happy to help you

In the current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the blue card is the only type of permit that can be filed at most representative offices of the Czech Republic without the company having to be included in one of the government programmes. If you are going to employ highly qualified employees from outside the EU or are looking for information on how to obtain a blue card, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to share our practical experience so that the whole process is as smooth as possible.

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