EU Blue Card: The working visa that sounds too good to be true

I’m currently on a Working Holiday Visa in Germany, which has raised more questions about my work and tax situation here in Berlin. Today, I stumbled across the site Make it in Germany. The name is pretty cheesy, but the information is bloody fantastic, and the website is actually easy to navigate. From the site, I came across the Quick-Check, and decided to take the 10-second survey. Turns out, I’m eligible for the so-called EU Blue Card starting today (1 August, 2012). Yes, TODAY. If that’s not a sign, then I don’t know what is.

The website doesn’t say much about what the EU Blue Card is, except this:

From 1 August onwards, you will be entitled to a residence and work permit – known as the “Blue Card” – once you have received a job offer from a German company, provided that your annual gross salary is at least €44,800. If the salary is below this threshold, you can work as a doctor or in one of the “MINT” (mathematics, IT, natural sciences, technology/engineering) professions in Germany if you earn a similar salary to that of German employees – that is, at least €34,944 a year.

Very ambiguous and sounds like there’s a giant loophole waiting to be exploited. After doing some careful research (meaning Googling), I came across this site and also this one — I’m not sure how accurate either one of these sites are, but the EU Blue Card sounds like a very sweet deal. Some of the highlights are:

  • All I need to do is earn a certain amount of money, being ‘highly qualified’ in something, and have a degree. Tick, tick, and tick.
  • I’m possibly able to work and stay in the EU for up to four years.
  • I can apply for a German permanent resident permit after 33 months, or fast track to 21 months if I’m sufficient in the German language at the B1 level.
  • I can stay outside of the EU for up to 12 months without losing the right of residence in Germany.
  • I must stay in Germany for 18 months and then I can live and work in another EU country.

I’m wondering if the Blue Card is a better option than the ‘artist’ visa (aka the ‘freelance’ visa). With the artist visa I can freelance with multiple companies, but the Blue Card’s biggest appeal is being able to gain permanent resident status in under two years.

Well, back to the drawing board with the whole visa and work situation.

*** UPDATE: 8 Aug, 2013  ***

In the end, I applied for the freelance visa and recently got it approved. To read about my experience and tips, read here.

22 thoughts on “EU Blue Card: The working visa that sounds too good to be true

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this web site needs
    far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

  2. Spot on with this write-up, I really believe this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for
    the advice!

  3. Hi there,
    I have looked everywhere as to what “high skilled” worker actually means. I have my Bachelors in Marketing and a Masters in International business. Am I qualified/Are jobs available in my field or are they all for doctors and IT gurus? I just want to ask around so that I don’t waste time applying for the blue card. Also, how come you decided to do the freelance visa over the blue card?

    I appreciate your help!!!
    Sabah

    • Hi Sabah,

      In a nutshell, for the Blue Card, you are either a doctor or IT specialist and you don’t have a minimum salary requirement. For all other professions, you need to be earning at least 44,800 Euros (if the job involves being in an office or in front of a computer, it will be classed as highly skilled).

      I decided against the Blue Card as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit with one company and liked the idea of consulting for brands, companies and agencies.

      Best way is to see if you can find a job in Berlin as that’s the tough part. A freelance visa might be the way to go if this is going to be your first grad job and you want to test out different industries and professions.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers

      Yi

  4. Hi Yi,
    I already have a EU Blue card which permits to work as a permanent employee in any company.I passed now 1.5 yrs working in Germany under this, and now I would like to have a freelancing job for which my Blue card does not allow. Would it be possible to have freelancing visa and Blue card together ? Any ideas or information from your side would be grateful

    • Hi Naveen,

      I’m not completely sure, but I don’t really think you can have two types of visa. A freelance visa and blue card are both categorised as a resident visa. In addition, the requirements for a blue card means you have a permanent full-time job, which is contradictory if you want to be a freelancer.

      Nevertheless, I think as permanent employee, you can still engage on freelance jobs — you don’t need a freelance visa but a freelance tax number. I think there might be a limit to how much you can earn (I could be wrong). It also means that you will need to report your income tax as salary job + freelance jobs.

      Maybe best to contact an accountant about this. I have a contact of a tax advisor if you like.

      Cheers

      Yi

      • Hello Yi,

        Thank you very much for your reply 🙂

        In my case, I may have to quit my permanent job before I take up a freelance job if at all it is possible.Please give me the contact details of a tax advisor, I shall try.

        Thanks,
        Naveen

      • Hi Naveen,

        Get in touch with Benjamin:
        benjamin.gruschla@spezialisten.de

        You can ask him via e-mail and see if this is something he can help you with. He’s fluent in English and super helpful with tax questions relating to freelancing. I’m just not sure if he’s familiar with the blue card but it wouldn’t hurt to ask 🙂

        All the best,

        Yi

  5. Hi Yi, stumbled across this post whilst trying to do some research into the Blue Card! Like you, I’m also from Australia, currently on a WHV. I’m thinking of going on the Freelance Visa (I’m a graphic designer by trade), but then the Blue Card seems like a much better option. Have you had any luck applying for it by any chance? Thanks!

    • Hey Ray,

      Sorry for the late response! I’ve decided to go with the freelance visa over the Blue Card due to my current work situation. The freelance visa is more flexible, and allows me to work on different projects and for different agencies. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an e-mail on http://about.me/yiiee

  6. Pingback: Applying For An EU Blue Card « Geek Mädel

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