Cabinet on Wednesday approved legislation to implement the European Blue Card scheme in Cyprus.

The scheme, touted as Europe’s answer to the United States’ green card, aims to encourage high-skilled workers from third countries to move to the EU.

“The proposed changes aim to adopt a more flexible framework for the entry and residence of high-skilled workers from countries outside the EU,” explained Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

“More flexible rules are being introduced to attract high-skilled workers to the EU, including more flexible admission conditions, enhanced rights and facilitation of movement and work within the union,” he said.

High-skilled, Ioannou explained, includes workers who have a higher education qualification from a course at least three years in length, as well as managers and professionals in the information and communication technology sectors with three years of relevant professional experience in the seven years preceding their application.

The EU’s Blue Card scheme is being rolled out in 25 of the bloc’s 27 member states, with Denmark and the Republic of Ireland electing to opt out.