Bulgarian Parliament amends Foreigners Act to enable residence for investment

Foreigners will be able to get permanent residence in Bulgaria if they have invested at least a million leva (about 500 000 euro) at a licensed credit institution for no less than five years, after Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved the second reading of amendments to the Foreigners Act on October 24.

This adds to the list of grounds for which foreigners may get permanent residence, for example marriage to a Bulgarian.

The amendment to grant residence on the grounds of a million-leva was proposed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party, restoring an idea abandoned under the former centre-right GERB government because of national security concerns as well as concerns that the system could be manipulated by merely simulating a deposit on that scale.

GERB said that the heads of the security services should be asked to explain to Parliament whether their concerns had gone away in the time since their previous opposition to the investment provision.

Delyan Dobrev, a GERB MP and a former economy minister, said that there were law firms in Bulgaria that were known for moving money around so that it appeared that an applicant for permanent residence had made the deposit required.

BSP members of Parliament rejected these concerns, claiming that safeguards had been built into the new version of the law that would prevent abuses.

The amendments to the Foreigners Act also provide for more favourable treatment of investors who have invested more than two million leva. The Invest Bulgaria Agency will be required to oversee such invests and to monitor if at any point they are transferred or terminated.





The Sofia Globe staff

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