In the last few months, more and more clients of KGK Law Firm, both companies - employers and individuals, turn to us with questions concerning the residence in the Republic of Bulgaria of EU citizens and foreigners - citizens of third countries. With this in mind, in the following few paragraphs we have examined some of the options that the law provides for the pursuit of the respective purposes of legal residence in the country.
A legal residence is a residence that is legally established, The legal grounds recognised by the Bulgarian legislation are the following: visa, international or EU treaties on visa-free regime, acts of EU law (e.g. Directive 2004/38/ES)and permission of the services for administrative control of foreigners – Migration Directorate and Migration Services of the Ministry of Interior.
Foreigners are allowed to stay without having all the requirements of the law – visa or residence permit, regular document, etc. The State grants asylum to foreigners persecuted for their beliefs or activities in defence of internationally recognised rights and freedoms, the conditions for which are regulated by a special law.
The employment of a foreigner with a Bulgarian employer is possible only after the person has obtained a work permit from the Migration Directorate. After the amendments in 2021, a foreigner who has been granted a residence permit on other grounds is now entitled to submit the documents for a work permit. Employers should take into account that a foreigner may obtain a work permit subject to the following restrictions:
The minister of Labour and Social Policy is empowered to authorise the issuance of work permits in individual cases other than those mentioned above upon proven expediency.
There are several common procedures for gaining access to the labour market, depending on the period for which the person wishes to gain access and the relevant qualification they hold:
• Registration of seasonal employment of up to 90 days of third-country national workers - For seasonal employment of up to 90 days without interruption within each period of 12 months, registration shall be made with the Employment Agency on the basis of a declaration submitted by the employer and in compliance with the requirement of Article 24l of the Aliens in the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
• "Seasonal Worker Permit" - The permit is issued to third-country nationals who apply for a residence permit for the purpose of seasonal work from 90 days to 9 months in any 12-month period.
• "Single Residence and Work Permit" - The SRP is issued for a period of three years, and where the duration of the employment contract is less than three years, the permit is issued for the duration of the contract.
• "EU Blue Card" - To apply for an EU Blue Card, a foreigner must have completed a university degree based on at least three years of study, be authorised to pursue highly-skilled employment and have a long-term residence visa. This type of permit is issued for a period of up to 5 years but not less than 24 months.
What all these procedures have in common is that, first of all, the working conditions and pay must not be less favourable than those for Bulgarian nationals in the relevant category of work. In each of these cases, it must be shown that the employee has secure accommodation. The employer is obliged to cover at his own expense the transport costs from the employee's place of origin to his place of work in the Republic of Bulgaria and vice versa, as well as the costs of compulsory health insurance and insurance for the employee. This does not apply only to an EU Blue Card permit, where a derogation is allowed and the parties should agree in the contract at whose expense these costs will be borne.
If you are an employer who wants to employ a person who is not a citizen of the Republic of Bulgaria but is a member of the EU, or if you are an EU citizen who wants to enter into an employment relationship with a Bulgarian employer, the key points to be aware of are:
First of all, it has to be proven to the competent authorities that the EU national concerned has a place to stay on the territory of the country - a residence address in Bulgaria is required.
Also, the EU national employee should obtain an alien service number from the National Revenue Agency. The employer can also request the necessary identification number, but this is only possible with express authorisation. In case the person has an alien personal number it is used before the NRA and the service number is deleted.
It is also compulsory that within three months of entering Bulgaria, the employee submits an application to the Migration Directorate or the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior for the issuance of a Long-Term Residence Certificate for up 5 years.
However, each of the procedures listed above also has its own specificities and particular requirements for successful completion. If you are interested in initiating any of them, KGK Law Firm's team can familiarize you with the details of each procedure and assist you in every stage of it.