The Spanish government has recently implemented the EU Blue Card regulations, aligning with the EU Blue Card Directive and amending the national residence permit for highly skilled professionals. The new permit that came into effect at the end of May 2023 aims to attract qualified individuals from non-EU countries to work and reside in Spain.
Previously, the rules of the Spanish Blue Card have not been effective in attracting high-level professionals to European companies. According to Jennifer Muñoz from Le Morne Brabant Abogados, the reason for this was the requirement of national employment accreditation. Non-European citizens could only be granted a Spain Blue Card if the job position fell under the catalog of difficult-to-fill occupations published by SEPE or if the position could not be filled by a job offer managed through the Public Employment Service. If the desired position was not in the catalog, the job offer had to be published in SEPE, and only if a Spaniard or resident in Spain could not fill the position were foreigners eligible for the permit. However, this requirement no longer exists.
The following foreign nationals are eligible to apply for the permit:
- Individuals with a higher education qualification of at least three years
- Individuals with a qualification of at least level 2 under the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education
- Individuals with a minimum of five years of professional experience in a relevant profession or sector (or three years in the prior seven years for information and communications technology managers or professionals)
- The permit is available for those with an employment contract lasting at least six months and earning between one and 1.6 times the average gross annual salary. However, there are exceptions to the salary requirement for professions with a specific demand for foreign workers
The EU Blue Card provides flexibility to highly skilled professionals by offering a more streamlined process compared to national-level requirements. At the national level, highly skilled professionals typically need a qualification comparable to at least level 1 of the Spanish Qualifications Framework for Higher Education or a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience.
The Blue Card in Spain is valid for the duration of the employment contract plus an additional three months, up to a total of three years. Holders of an EU Blue Card can also enter and work in another member state of the European Union for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Family members of Blue Card applicants can also apply for a residence permit as dependents.
The implementation of the new rules for the Blue Card in Spain aims to make the country more attractive to highly skilled foreign workers and their employers. It serves as a tool to attract and retain talented professionals, contributing to Spain's economic growth and fostering European Union mobility.