The Bulgarian Labour Inspectorate found numerous breaches of labour law at the country’s ski resorts, including the illegal employment of foreigners by pretending they were “trainees”.
The inspectorate said that the scheme involved organisations that actually had the necessary licences to provide training, but the inspectors found that the foreigners – mostly from Ukraine and Moldova – were actually working, including at night, and being paid.
The scheme was an attempt to circumvent Bulgarian law on work permits for foreigners from non-European Union countries.
Under Bulgarian law, workers from non-EU countries can be given seasonal employment for up to 90 days provided that the Employment Agency consents.
The statement said that its inspectors had found about 19 such workers had come to Bulgaria on the basis of contracts between educational institutions and partner companies, in this case, hotels and restaurants.
The “trainees” arrived in Bulgaria on tourist visas and visas for cultural exchange. The labour inspectorate established that they did not have apprenticeship contracts or individual training contracts – and there was no evidence that they were given any training.
At the resorts, the General Labour Inspectorate checked 348 businesses with, in all, more than 6100 employees.
The inspectorate found 131 violations of rules on working hours, 53 regarding pay, 44 of work without a signed employment contract. Inspectors issued 91 formal statements of administrative violations, the labour inspectorate’s statement said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)