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Blue cards, green cards: The Contest to attract highly skilled migrants

Ball, Richard


Rick Ball
Senior Lecturer in Law


Highly skilled immigrants are considered to be “sort after” individuals. They provide countries with skilled labour often, if they originate from developing or least developed countries, with significantly less wage demands than similarly skilled domestic workers. Furthermore they provide an attractive solution to skills’ shortages in the labour market of western States. Schemes to encourage this type of immigration have a long history, with the most well-known example supposedly being the US Green Card for labour migrants. Member States of the European Union have also operated similar schemes but it is only recently that the EU itself has entered this field with the adoption of Directive 2009/50/EC , the “Blue Card” Directive. The UK however has opted out of this scheme and has introduced its own points based system for highly skilled migrants .

In fact it is not the US Green Card that should be used as the instrument for a comparative analysis with the EU Blue Card but the H-1B visa . This paper will conduct a comparative analysis of the US , EU and UK schemes for attracting highly skilled migrants . The three schemes will be examined, including the rationale for their implementation, before critically analysing their strengths, weaknesses and likely success in achieving their stated aims, including considering the effects on the migrant’s home State. The merits of each scheme will be assessed with the intention of making recommendations for amendments to ensure that their aims can be achieved.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Feb 21, 2014
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Ball, R. (2014, February). Blue cards, green cards: The Contest to attract highly skilled migrants. Paper presented at Moving to Opportunity: Risks and Rewards of Economic Migration
Keywords highly skilled migrants, blue card directive, UK, immigration rules, H-1B VISA
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Moving to Opportunity: Risks and Rewards of Economic Migration


Blue Cards, Green Cards - The Contest to Attract Highly Skilled Migrants.docx (24 Kb)

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