I failed to get at least a bachelor degree in Computer Science. Not the proudest part of my life. Now I have no finished official education besides my school. But I learned almost everything I know via alternative sources of information like articles, books, courses and working experience. Can I get a work permit if a company is willing to take me without diploma of higher education? Or should I go to some univercity and get it before I apply for working abroad? Do I need a dimploma just to be able to get a working permit? Or should the skills and the experience be enough?

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    where are you trying to get the work permit? – SaggingRufus Aug 15 '17 at 15:30
  • Schengen zone. Europe. Just somewhere. Netherlands, Poland or Germany maybe. – Gherman Aug 15 '17 at 15:37
  • but where are you now ? – Fattie Aug 15 '17 at 16:04
  • Trying to get out of Russia. – Gherman Aug 15 '17 at 16:06
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    As I russian mid-lvl(24yo) developer who gave up on University this hits close to home. I have a friend who left for spain without a degree, so it seems that you will have options where to go. a degree howeever may be required by the employeer, but may isn't must – Greenmachine Aug 17 '17 at 14:21

The individual rules vary slightly between the different Schengen-zone countries but I'm not aware of any that specifically require a degree to qualify. That's the good news.

The bad news is that they are an utter pain to get. It's the employer who has to apply for the permit and it's an expensive, excruciating, red tape-leaden nightmare that requires the company to put forward a convincing argument as to why they are hiring a non-European resident for the role rather than a "local" and unless you've got some very unique and desirable skills and experience most simply won't even attempt it. I appreciate that this probably isn't what you wanted to hear.. sorry!

  • That's exactly what I wanted to hear. They list the requirements. I do my job at meeting them. But still. I don't get it. There are a lot of vacancies on SO that say they sponsor relocation. And they list the exact skills. Are those skills enough? Most of the time the are at best "above average", not at all "unique". If I qualify for a vacancy on SO according to their own list of skills and they say they sponsor visa. Does it mean that these skills are enogh? – Gherman Aug 15 '17 at 16:05
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    No, of course not. It will also depend on how well you interview, if there are local candidates with the same skill set and how they interview, etc. How much experience do you have? Are the skill that you say you meet learned via a job or only via learning from online classes, self-study? – mkennedy Aug 15 '17 at 20:18
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    The qualifications listed by the employer are a start, but they need to convince their government that they cannot find a candidate with those qualifications from within the country, or at least the inner market. – tripleee Aug 16 '17 at 7:39
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    said otherwise, you have to prove impossible to replace by a local. so you have to prove yourself first in your country. Get showable rare experience, and it will be much easier for the potential employer. – gazzz0x2z Jan 22 '18 at 8:45
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    This is exactly how it works here in the Netherlands. There is a list of government-approved visa sponsor companies (i.e. only those companies can sponsor a work visa for an employee from abroad) and they need to prove that they were not able to find the required skillset in the local market. I got my work permit not because of my academic qualification (even though I do have a diploma that's considered equivalent of a HBO Master, makes things easier for my employer) but because I have a very specific professional experience – Juliana Karasawa Souza Sep 27 '19 at 11:45

well it may be that you wanted to hear you don't need a degree, but that really is not effectively true, at least in Germany. The work permit requirements are determined by the government, and unless you have many years of work experience in your field, you will need a degree in addition to a job offer to get a work/residence permit.

Check the BAMF website for the different kinds of permits available in Germany, but pay special attention to the section on the Blue card as this is the most liberal and easiest to get if you are a tech worker: http://www.bamf.de/EN/Willkommen/Aufenthalt/WichtigeInformationen/wichtigeinformationen-node.html

Finally, in Germany the employer does not have to file the application on an employee's behalf. If you have a job offer you can apply on your own, though having the company's support can make it easier for you. Even if the employer gets the ball rolling, you would normally have to finish the process yourself at the German consulate in Russia.

One final thing you can try: sometimes a temporary blue card can be issued for job seeking activity (these last 3-6 months usually). Without a degree I really don't think you have any chance of getting one, but this would be the best path forward as you really need to be in the country to attend interviews and that kind of thing.

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    But then there's a difference between the univercities. In my country they are so very different. Will any kind of accredited by the government bachelor degree do? I could just go to the easiest univercity. But no matter which one I choose I will have to use a lot of self-education. Russia's univercities will just teach me math(and mostly just differential equations) without much CS and programming teaching. So it just comes down to "learn everything yourself and fetch the diploma". So I was pondering if I should just concentrate on self-study and work or if I should fetch a diploma too. – Gherman Aug 16 '17 at 21:04

Hi I’m US citizen with only an Associates degree in Manufacturing Technology and Design. I have worked for 16 years in the engineering field first designing using CAD and now managing engineering teams. The past 7 years I worked for a US location which HQ is in Belgium. I was asked to move to the HQ and work in Belgium and accepted. This required a work permit B which I received without a degree because #1 the company wanted my skills and #2 I had a lot of experience + my associates = highly skilled in the engineering field. Just sharing , I know it’s not the norm but the Ministry of Labor in Belgium recognizes exceptions to the rule and allowed my family to live a great life abroad. I will be ever great full for Belgiums considerations.

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