Friday, February 24, 2012

The EU Blue Card in Finland

Finnish National Theater
Photo by ninara
Possibly happening as early as 2013, the Finnish government may be offering an EU Blue Card. I have already written that Finland might offer the Blue Card in 2012, but it didn't happen. Many EU countries simply haven't gotten around to implementing the Blue Card (which they're required to do), so kudos to Finland for at least trying to

To qualify you must:
  • Be a highly-skilled non-EU citizens
  • Have work contract of at least 12 months
  • Received a salary of at least 1.5 times the Finnish average gross annual salary
  • Have a monthly income greater than €4,700
These terms are more or less in line with what they had previously declared.

Helsinki - Suomenlinna sea fortress
Photo by Walter Rodriguez
However, I suspect the reason for the delay may be the social benefits. Generally when you emigrate to a country, that country's social services are rather limited to you because you've not been paying into their tax system (there are exceptions, such as the UK offering you free health care from day 1). However, for the Finnish Blue Card, recipients would be eligible for free education, health care, and family benefits.

Finland is a bit concerned about the cost of the social benefits. Specifically, they're concerned about:
The European Commission has proposed a directive that would grant employees working for international companies who come from outside the EU the same rights to health care, unemployment security, and pensions that EU citizens have.
While this sounds lovely from a humanitarian standpoint, it's already expensive to recruit internationally; making this even more expensive for governments is not going to help the situation. Particularly now with the European debt crisis, it seems a curious time to increase costs for governments.