A total of 31 587 citizens of non-EU countries had permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria in 2017 – a figure almost double that of the previous year, according to data released by the National Statistical Institute (NSI).
In 2016, the number was 16 205, in turn an increase on the 2015 figure, 13 670. And that was significantly higher than the 2014 figure, of 971.
Separate statistics from the NSI show that in 2017, a total of 3615 non-EU nationals were granted permanent or long-term residence for family reasons – for example, marriage to a Bulgarian.
In 2016, the figure was 3240, up from 2906 in 2015 and 2591 in 2014.
Non-EU nationals granted long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria to attend an educational institution added up to 1267, two hundred higher than the figure for 2016, and up from 874 in 2015 and 911 in 2014.
Granting of permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria on the grounds of what the NSI terms “remunerated activities” added up to 1822 non-EU citizens in 2017. These figures had their ups and downs: 304 in 2014, 2261 in 2015, and 276 in 2016.
In the category “Other”, a total of 4254 non-EU nationals got permanent or long-term residence in Bulgaria in 2017. The 2016 figure was 3359, in 2015 it was 3554 and in 2014 it was 4989.
There also has been a significant increase in Bulgaria in the number of non-EU nationals granted EU “Blue Cards” – conferring the right to work to qualified specialists needed for the labour market – though the actual figures remain relatively low.
In 2014, 46 were granted, 21 for the first time and 25 renewals. The following year, this rose to 95, sixty-one for the first time and 34 renewals. In 2015, 177 were granted, 115 for the first time and 62 renewals, while in 2017, 242 non-EU nationals got a “Blue Card” in Bulgaria, 121 for the first time and 121 as a renewal, according to the NSI’s figures.
(Archive photo: Bulgarian Interior Ministry Migration Directorate)