The European Union (EU) has decided to bring in a Blue Card scheme, which it says will help it attract well-qualified immigrants.
According to EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot it is highly skilled migration into Europe that "increases our competitiveness and economic growth".
As part of the initiative, card-owners will benefit from improved socio-economic rights and better family reunification arrangements.
"With today’s adoption of the EU Blue Card we send a clear signal that, irrespective of economic ups and downs, such migrants are always welcome in the EU," Mr Barrot commented.
European countries remain the most popular expatriate locations and continue to attract Brits looking for work and those wanting to retire.
According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, almost one in four expatriates who settled in France did so to start up a business.
By Mark Pawlak