Blue Card, Green Card, Knowledge Migrant: What’s the difference?

Jun 8, 2016

The EU Blue Card is created for highly skilled workers from outside the European Union (EU), the knowledge migrant permit as well. The US Green Card allows you to work in the US, the Blue Card does not allow you to work in all Member States of the EU. Confused?

The EU Blue Card offers mobility within the EU and is intended to attract and retain the highly skilled workers for the purpose of highly qualified employment and thus to strengthen the economic growth within the EU. The Dutch national knowledge migrant permit is restricted to the Netherlands, the Green Card of course to the US.

The fact that the highly skilled migrant has two permits to choose from is not always an evident case. After all, there are differences that must be taken into account. The condition for the national knowledge migrant is based on (market conformity of the) salary level whereas the Blue Card is based on a salary threshold in combination with an educational requirement. By the way, the salary threshold for the Dutch knowledge migrant is lower than that of the Blue Card holder.

The company obtaining the EU Blue Card for its employee does not necessarily need to be recognised as an accredited sponsor with the Dutch Immigration Authority however, accredited sponsors do benefit from expedited processing times. An accredited sponsorship with the Dutch immigration authority is a requirement for the Dutch knowledge migrant route.

Generally, the Dutch knowledge migrant procedure is easier and faster than the EU Blue Card. However, the EU Blue Card offers the holder to work in other EU Member States after 18 months of legal residence in the first Member State. After five years of legal and continuous stay, the EU Blue Card holder may qualify for an EU permanent residence status. This five year period may be accumulated in different Member States, but upon the application for the EU permanent residence status, the Blue Card holder must have had continuous residence of at least two years in the EU country where he is applying. The Dutch knowledge migrant may only apply for EU permanent residency after having lived in the Netherlands for five consecutive years.

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