EU members back "Blue Card" immigration plan, diplomats say
European Union member states on Wednesday gave their backing to a watered-down system for attracting highly-qualified immigrants to Europe known as the "Blue Card," diplomats in Brussels told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa .
The ambassadors of the EU's 27 member states approved the plan after Bulgaria was the last EU state to withdraw its objections, diplomatic sources said.
The Blue Card project is based on the US Green Card and was designed by the EU's executive, the European Commission, to make the EU more attractive to highly-qualified migrants.
EU officials frequently complain that Europe tends to attract uneducated migrants, while their highly-educated peers are more likely to move to North America in search of work.
The Blue Card project was designed to make immigration easier by giving a prospective immigrant a single document allowing him or her to work in all 27 EU member states.
The card would only be issued under strict income conditions, with migrants expected to be earning at least one and a half times the gross national average wage.
However, EU states have significantly weakened the commission's original plans by insisting that it is up to national governments to decide how many migrants should enter their countries and what qualifications they should have.
Officials now hope that EU interior ministers will give the proposal their formal approval before the end of the year, but no date has yet been set.