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I am a non-EU resident who's been working remotely (since October 2021) as a senior game developer for one of the biggest mobile game companies in the world with their Spanish (Barcelona) division.

A month ago I visited the company office in Barcelona and we finalized the deal and last week I signed the contract, 50k gross annually with a very lucrative bonus deal (according to our current stat, my minimum bonus is going to be 80k Euro but could possibly reach 200k), btw, I know many of you will think 50k is too low, but that's actually a pretty good salary in Spain.

The gaming company is working with another immigration/relocation company who are also pretty famous for this kind of work, they give you the full list of documents and do all the translation, they even rent you a place-holder place for the first 3 months (on the company expenses) which is amazing considering how hard it is to find a good place in Barcelona.

Anyways,

Last week on our first call (with the immigration company) they asked about my university degree, I said that I was clear since my very first interview with the gaming company that I am self-taught, I finished high-school, went to college for 2 years and then I dropped out.

In 2017 I started my own game dev company and been working full time since then, I made a couple of successful games which got featured by both Apple and Google, and am currently one of the founding member of a game that makes ~100k revenue per day. (and the game is only 9 months old).

So they asked me, instead of providing a degree, I should provide recommendation letters from my old client and my current employer (The gaming company) and some other legal paper that proves that my company has been active since 2017, and they are gonna use these to prove that I have a "higher professional qualifications".

I've been reading the Blue Card FAQ for Spain:

  • have a valid work contract or binding job offer for highly-qualified employment with a duration of at least 1 year (✔️)

  • meet the minimum salary threshold of 33,908€, (✔️, its 50k +bonus)

  • for regulated professions: present documents proving that the national legal requirements are met (❓)

I asked on reddit and the general answer was that Game development is not a regulated professions, therefore, I don't need a degree.

Well, today I was informed by the immigration company that is taking care of the process that due to the lack of a University degree, they have to take "the longer path" to get me a work permit, basically what they need to do now is to wait for the gaming company that I am working with to officially publish a job offer in the "Spanish job center" or something, interview and reject x-number of candidates with a justifiable reason, and then use that data to prove to the Spanish embassy that they really need me in particular.

This feels a bit like a bummer because the process can take up to 6~8 months now instead of 2~4 months, and there is a chance that it doesn't work out.

The thing that I don't understand is that the Immigration company told us that because of the lack of a degree, they cannot do "the expedited process" (I don't know what it means), But what really made me contact you, is that they said that they can still ignore all this, and do "the expedited process" in France, so because the gaming company has offices in many EU countries (the headquarter is in France), they said that it's still possible to do it the fast way (without the need of doing public job offers and refuse them).

My question is that according to these 2 links

and these screenshots for those who don't wanna read too much, there shouldn't be any difference between France and Spain, and the job am applying for (Game development) is not considered a regulated profession, and i have proof that I've been practicing it for more than 5 years, and I have work contract with a company that I've been working with remotely for over 9 months now, and a salary (50K) that is more than the minimum blue card threshold (33k).

So why do I really need a university degree when all the official online facts says otherwise ?

PS:

I already contacted an immigration lawyer from Barcelona and am waiting for their reply, am just asking here because am overly-stressed now and just want to hear people opinions, and maybe am lucky enough that some of you have an experience with this.

Thanks a lot!

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2 Answers 2

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I am afraid I only have bad news.

So why do I really need a university degree when all the official online facts says otherwise?

You're reading all this incorrectly. A Blue card does require a university degree. That's more-or-less the meaning of the phrase “higher profession qualifications“ used on the Commission's website and in the directive itself. These terms are defined further in the directive (article 2):

(g) ‘higher professional qualifications’ means qualifications attested by evidence of higher education qualifications or, by way of derogation, when provided for by national law, attested by at least five years of professional experience of a level comparable to higher education qualifications and which is relevant in the profession or sector specified in the work contract or binding job offer;

(h) ‘higher education qualification’ means any diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualifications issued by a competent authority attesting the successful completion of a post-secondary higher education programme, namely a set of courses provided by an educational establishment recognised as a higher education institution by the State in which it is situated. For the purposes of this Directive, a higher education qualification shall be taken into account, on condition that the studies needed to acquire it lasted at least three years;

All that also applies to unregulated professions. Now, the directive does open the possibility of qualifying through another route (professional experience) and that's what your lawyers seem to be trying to establish. Importantly, this is an exception ("by way of derogation") and really up to each country. So the rules may very well differ between France and Spain and it is still completely impossible in Germany for example.

If you don't have any university degree, you need to carefully document your professional experience to whatever standard is required by the Spanish authorities and you cannot simply ignore the issue because your profession isn't regulated. All this is in line with your lawyers' advice and none of the webpages you found give any reason to ignore it.

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In the screenshot you highlighted the relevant part: need to prove high level of professional qualifications. University degree is the standard way of doing it. Non-standard is to show that you're an exceptional candidate compared to other options, which is the "long route" as you described it.

In the FAQ, see the answers to these two questions:

What do we mean by 'Higher professional qualifications'?

(1) qualifications attested by evidence of higher education qualifications of studies that lasted at least three years....

(2) Some Member States (DE*, EE, EL, ES, FR, LT, LU, MT**, PL, PT, SE and SK) also allow for relevant professional experience to be taken into account....

What is a labour market test?

Mechanism that aims to ensure that migrant workers are only admitted after employers have unsuccessfully searched for national workers...

(1) The labour market test (LMT) is implemented and applied widely in most Member States. Where the LMT is applied some categories of workers can be exempt, reflecting the specific national situations and priorities....

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