EU blue card work permit would add another layer of bureaucracy, warns CBI

Plans for a European Union (EU) work permit – a ‘blue card’ – to increase the number of skilled migrants working in member states have divided employer opinion.

The European Commission (EC) yesterday unveiled plans for an EU-wide work visa similar to the US Green Card.

While many firms believe new ways of attracting skilled workers are desperately needed, others feel that the UK government should retain control of immigration.

Neil Carberry, head of employment at business group the CBI, said: “The CBI believes that control over numbers of non-EU citizens entering countries for work should remain with member states.

“Additional entry systems at EU level disrupt this and add unnecessary complications for employers.”

However, Annemarie Muntz, European public affairs director for recruitment consultancy Vedior, disagreed.

“The EU needs a stronger skill-base to enhance its economic competitive edge for a bigger share of the increasingly globalised economy,” she said.

“Education and training of people already living and working in the EU isn’t enough. Declining birth rates mean that the EU must look to skilled immigrants from outside the region.”

EU countries need up to 20m skilled workers over the next two decades, particularly those with engineering and IT expertise.

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