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| February 7, 2024

Simpler rules for blue cards in the Czech Republic and Germany

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A new Blue Card Directive was adopted by the EU Council in the year 2021 already. With effect from 1 July 2023, the Czech Republic implemented the adopted Directive in Act No.326/1999 Coll., on the residence of foreigners on the territory of the Czech Republic, which now eases the conditions for obtaining a blue card.

The Blue Card is a type of long-term residence permit that allows third-country nationals to legally stay and work in the Czech Republic for more than three months in a highly skilled position. Before the law was amended, it was quite difficult to meet the conditions for obtaining a blue card and as a result, a very low percentage of blue card holders were registered in the Czech Republic.

As of 31 January 2022, there were over 104,000 reported holders of alternative residence titles in the Czech Republic and only 1,357 holders of blue cards. By contrast, the Czech Republic issued 366 new blue cards in 2020, while Portugal or Hungary issued only several blue cards in the same year. Germany, on the contrary, issued almost 100,000 blue cards between 2016 and 2020 (nearly three quarters of all blue cards in the European Union).

By adopting the new legislation, the Czech Republic aims to make blue cards more attractive, thereby attracting foreign highly skilled workers, especially in sectors, where there is a long-term labour shortage.

Below is a summary of the main changes

  • The Blue Card is now issued with validity for up to 3 years (previously only 2 years).
  • In addition to the employment contract, the applicant may also submit a future contract, in both cases a contract made for a period of 6 months is sufficient (previously the employment contract had to be made for at least 1 year).
  • The new legislation also allows proof of high qualifications through professional experience. This is now considered equivalent to a university qualification, if the professional experience has lasted at least 3 years.
  • If you are a blue card holder in another EU country, you do not need to provide a criminal record extract from your country of origin, and if you can prove that you have worked on your blue card in another EU country for at least 2 years, you do not need to provide proof of high qualifications.
  • Blue card holders do not have to apply to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic for approval to change employer or job classification. This fact only needs to be reported within 3 days.

It should also be noted that the amendment did not reduce the minimum threshold of the gross monthly or annual wage agreed between the employer and the applicant in the employment contract, which must correspond to at least 1.5 times the average gross annual wage in the Czech Republic. According to a decree of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the average gross annual wage in the Czech Republic for the period from 1 May 2023 to 30 April 2024 is CZK 484,236.

Are you planning to apply for a blue card in Germany?

If we compare, for example, the current wording of the Czech and German legislation concerning the conditions for obtaining a blue card, we can conclude that the legislation is almost identical in both countries, see the summary below.

  • The Blue Card is valid for up to 4 years.
  • In addition to the employment contract, the applicant may submit a future contract agreement.
  • Professional experience in the field is also recognised as a high qualification.
  • You must have an employment contract with an agreed minimum wage of 1.5 times the average annual gross wage in Germany (EUR 43,800 in 2023).
  • If the Blue Card holder changes employers, it is necessary to inform the authorities.

German authorities decide whether to issue a blue card within 5 to 6 weeks, and the administrative fee for applying reaches between EUR 100 and EUR 140 depending on the region.


If you have any questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact the authors of the article. We will be happy to assist you with this issue.