EU Blue Card: Immigration of highly skilled workers to Germany reaches new high in 2019

The number of high-skilled workers who have immigrated to Germany with the EU Blue Card further increased last year. Compared to 2018, close to 15%, more non-EU residents arrived in Germany last year.
The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) on Friday said that 31,220 non-EU foreigners came to Germany with an EU Blue Card last year. That's an increase of 14.6% compared to 2018.
BAMF Vice President Andrea Schumacher said the number of granted EU Blue Cards has been increasing steadily since the card was introduced in Germany in 2012.
Since then, Germany has been by far the most popular EU country among applicants, having granted more than 82% of all cards in each year, according to Schumacher.
The EU Blue Card is a special residence permit for foreign academics seeking qualified employment in the bloc.
Indians received most cards
Last year, a quarter of all Blue Cards were given to Indians, followed by Chinese, Russians and Turks.
The most highly skilled foreign workers immigrated to Germany's second-most populous state Bavaria (21.3%), followed by Baden-W├╝rttemberg (16.2%), North Rhine-Westphalia (15.8%), Germany's most populous state, and the capital Berlin (4.7%).
Only one out of four Blue Cards recipients in Germany are women.
Conditions and benefits
The EU Blue Card initially grants both a temporary right of residence and work for high-skilled workers. Applicants must provide proof they completed university-level studies or have a comparable qualification.
Moreover, applicants must present an employment contract or a binding job offer where they are applying. They must also be paid rather well in order to receive the card.
The EU Blue Card is particularly attractive because holders who have lived and worked in Germany for at least five years can receive a permanent residency permit. According to BAMF, 2,410 people used this opportunity last year -- almost 20% more people than in 2018.
According to BAMF, the number of residence titles in academic research also went up, by 51.9%. Moreover, last year also saw 3.7% more full-time students and more than twice as many employees for companies active in Germany (so-called IntraCorporate Transferees – ICT).
In an effort to attract highly qualified foreigners from outside the EU, the German government on March 1 passed a new law that is supposed to make it easier for skilled professionals to migrate to Germany for work.