Bulgaria’s National Assembly gave, on December 2, its final approval to changes to the Foreigners Act, including more stringent requirements for people who apply for long-stay visas in their capacity as representatives of foreign companies.
The stricter requirements will cover prior checking on the actual business activities of the company abroad, the turnover and the origin of the capital of the company.
Approving the second reading of the amendments, MPs also voted to require that people who apply for long-term visas on the grounds that they are doing business in Bulgaria show that they are creating 10 full-time jobs.
The concept behind is that long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria, applied for on the basis of doing business, is granted only to people really carrying out commercial activities.
The amendments, proposed by Bulgaria’s Cabinet in March and in April 2016, put into law the legal possibility of extending the stay of foreigners already in the country who are unable to leave it for reasons beyond their control.
The bill enacts procedures for granting “stateless person” status in line with the Convention of Stateless Persons and the Convention on the Reduction of Cases of Statelessness that Bulgaria ratified in 2012. The Migration Directorate at the Interior Ministry will be in charge of dealing with the status of stateless persons.
A special electronic register of cards issued will be set up at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and notification of registrations will be forwarded to the Interior Ministry, Finance Ministry and State Agency for National Security.
The amendments set specific rules regarding the submission to institutions of the documents of foreigners issued abroad and of evidence of family ties, by introducing a requirement that they be recognised or valid for implementation under Bulgarian law.
The amendments to the Foreigners Act remove an obligation for air, land and sea carriers to check whether foreigners embarking on a trip are using false documents and visas.
The Cabinet recommended this change because carriers do not have such forensic expertise.
Carriers will need to check only whether foreigners have travel documents and, if needed, visas, and if these documents have “obvious” alterations, deletions or indications that the photograph has been changed.
The minimum penalty for failure to carry out this duty will be 2000 leva (about 1024 euro).