Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved on June 27 amendments to the Foreigners Act that will give refugees and other beneficiaries of international protection resident status in the European Union, thus transposing the provisions of a European Union directive adopted in May 2011.
According to the bill, beneficiaries of international protection will be granted long-term European Union resident status after living in Bulgaria – legally and uninterrupted – for a period of five years.
The amendments also create the regulatory framework for granting or refusal to grant long-term EU resident status to third-country nationals, the Government press service said in a statement.
The new directive amends the earlier directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents of the EU, meant to foster the integration of such individuals in EU’s member states. According to data from EU’s statistics office Eurostat, there were about 567 000 third-country nationals covered by the directive in 2009.
The bill included a number of other amendments to the Foreigners Act, unrelated to the transposition of the long-term resident directive, such as steep fines for ship captains failing to detect stowaways on their ships prior to reaching Bulgarian ports.
Another amendment stipulates that foreigners married to a Bulgarian citizen and resided in the country for a period of at least two years, will still be eligible for permanent residence in Bulgaria should they divorce their Bulgarian spouse.
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