The Bulgarian government approved changes to regulations on the implementation of the Foreigners Act on June 20, arising from changes to Bulgarian legislation and European Union rules.
A government statement said that the changes also arose from the necessity to facilitate the procedures for applying for a right of residence by foreigners of Bulgarian origin who were non-EU nationals “leading to increased access to skilled labour on the Bulgarian labour market”.
The new regulations introduce a new article on the requirement for a foreigner applying for a long-stay visa to provide the documents necessary, in line with the grounds for the application.
Added to the regulations is the rule that when a foreigner of Bulgarian origin has legally entered the country “and does not hold a long-stay visa but presents a labour contract registered with the National Revenue Agency with a local employer, he will be able to obtain a right of residence without having the relevant visa”.
Flowing from this, the foreigner will be able to apply for permanent residence after payment of the prescribed fee, but without having to leave Bulgaria while the visa procedure is pending.
Other changes include reducing the deadline for processing applications for permanent residence and for a work permit from 14 to seven days.
The statement said that the changes edit an article on long-term residence for foreigners who carry out commercial activities in the country, to specify which documents should be provided by the administrative services on foreigners and which by the foreigners themselves.
New sub-sections of articles are introduced, in line with an EU directive on entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of conducting research, study, internship, volunteering, and programmes introduced in the Foreigners Act for student exchanges or educational projects and au pair programmes.
An addition is made to an article to reduce the administrative burden for foreigners of Bulgarian origin who apply for a right of permanent residence because they will not be required to provide proof of subsistence.
A separate article is being changed, stemming from “the need to refine the procedure for granting the right of residence to minors or juveniles”.
Other amendments are related to “their practical application related to the activity of the Border Police General Directorate in the return or expulsion of foreigners,” the statement said.
Further changes are related to the establishment of a mechanism for control of illegally staying foreigners who are outside the homes of the Migration Directorate.
Additionally, there are changes to comply with EU regulations on the validation of a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals.
“This will facilitate the return within the framework of readmission agreements concluded by member states with third countries.”
A further change is to the rules for the issuing of Bulgarian personal documents, where there is a discrepancy between the names of a foreigner entering Bulgaria with a travel document and those on a Bulgarian-issued birth certificate.