Blue Card: A Steady Rise of 200,000 Professionals in a Decade

Blue Card for professionals: 200,000 in ten years

Germany Sees Success in Attracting Non-EU Academic Specialists

Over the past decade, Germany has successfully attracted almost 200,000 academic specialists from non-EU countries through its “Blue Card” residence permit program. According to the Central Register of Foreigners, a staggering 83 percent of individuals holding a Blue Card choose to remain in Germany after five years.

Introduced in July 2012, the Blue Card was initially met with skepticism as only 7,000 individuals applied for it by the end of 2013. However, between 2012 and 2017, almost 68,900 people were granted a Blue Card for the first time, with nearly 60 percent of them obtaining a settlement permit after five years.

Statistics reveal that 11.3 percent of Blue Card holders were naturalized, 9.0 percent continued to hold a Blue Card, and 3.1 percent obtained another residence permit. Unfortunately, 16.7 percent chose not to continue living in Germany.

Comparing these numbers to international students, the percentage of individuals who choose to stay in Germany is lower among the former. From 2006 to 2012, around 219,600 international students were granted residence permits for study purposes. After five years, only 55 percent of them remain in Germany, which further decreases to 46 percent after ten years.

However, it’s worth noting that after ten years, 24.8 percent of these students secured permanent residency through German citizenship or a settlement permit. The second-largest group, at 5.7 percent, are those with a temporary residence permit for gainful employment.

Among Blue Card recipients from 2012 to 2017, individuals with Indian citizenship constituted the largest group at 22.4 percent. This was followed by 8.7 percent of individuals with Chinese citizenship and 7.5 percent with Russian citizenship. Among international students from 2006 to 2012, 16.9 percent held Chinese citizenship, followed by individuals with US American citizenship (6.9 percent) and Russian citizenship (6.4 percent).

To further address the shortage of skilled workers in Germany, the Bundesrat passed the Skilled Immigration Act this month. The act allows IT specialists without a university degree to obtain a Blue Card if they can demonstrate certain non-formal qualifications, such as professional experience at an academic level. The German government hopes that this law will attract an additional 60,000 skilled workers from abroad annually.

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