Bulgaria legislates incentives for highly-qualified non-EU foreigners
Highly-qualified foreign specialists, mainly in the high technology field, will be entitled to be contracted to get a salary equal to at least three average salaries based on data for the previous 12 months, Bulgaria’s Parliament said on April 13, approving the second reading of the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Bill.
The bill deals with issues related to the employment of non-EU foreigners, the employment of Bulgarians abroad, taking into account EU directives and also the need for consolidated law rather than the current fragmentation of laws on employing foreigners, scattered through various items of Bulgarian legislation.
The new law covers foreigners entitled to work in Bulgaria, who have entered into an employment contract with a local employer or have been posted in the country because of an intra-corporate transfer.
It eases access to the local labour market for foreigners operating as freelancers.
Foreigners may not occupy positions that by law, require Bulgarian citizenship. Bulgarian employers may not employ foreigners if the number will exceed 10 per cent of the total staff complement over a period of 12 months.
Work permits for foreign nationals will be issued by the Employment Agency and they will entitled to work for a period of one year. However, the permit can be extended if there has been no change in the circumstances under which it was first issue.
No authorisation to access the labour market will be needed by refugees with official status, accredited correspondents of foreign media and some categories of foreign nationals residing in the country.
A special chapter in the bill regulates the issuance of a blue card, an EU work permit for highly educated non-EU nationals.
When the bill was first released for public comment, in late 2015, an explanatory memorandum said that the IT industry in the country for months had insisted on relaxed rules for granting the right to work to foreigners from non-EU countries because of labour shortages.
Foreigners receiving the European blue card, however, will be required to work at least the first two years only in Bulgaria. Changing employers will be possible after explicit permission from the Employment Agency.
The draft new law gives guidelines for appointment of foreigners to seasonal employment, and the right of researchers, students and trainees to access the labour market.