The Council Directive 2009/50/EC has approved an EU-wide work permit for third-country nationals, better known as the Blue Card. The Blue Card allows high-skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, which are not subject to this Directive.
The Blue Card offers a one-track procedure for non-EU citizens to apply for a work permit, which will be valid for at least one year, but may be renewed thereafter. This card also encourages geographic mobility within the EU between different Member States.
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Through Legal Notice 433 of 2011, Malta has transposed this Council Directive regarding the conditions of entry and residence for third country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment.
The above-mentioned regulations apply to third-country nationals who wish to be admitted to Malta for the purpose of highly qualified employment. During the period of its validity, the EU Blue Card shall further entitle its holder to enter, re-enter and stay in the territory of the Member State issuing the EU Blue Card, in this case, Malta.
EU Blue Card holders also enjoy equal treatment as Maltese nationals, with respect to working conditions, including pay and dismissal, as well as health and safety requirements at the workplace. Furthermore, an EU Blue Card holder enjoys the provisions in national law regarding the branches of social security and payment of income-related acquired statutory pensions in respect of old age.
Moreover, it is essential to note that unemployment in itself does not constitute a reason for an EU Blue Card to be withdrawn, unless the period of unemployment exceeds three consecutive months, or if it occurs more than once during the period of validity of an EU Blue Card.
The acquisition of a Blue Card requires a certain amount of documentation, such as an employment contract binding the prospective Blue Card holder with at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary paid in Malta, a valid travel document and documents proving the relevant higher professional qualification, amongst others.