Over time, the influx of foreign workers in Bulgaria has significantly increased, underscoring the nation’s expanding global workforce.
According to the Bulgarian News Agency BTA, the country is currently witnessing a substantial upswing in the recruitment of foreign workers, primarily from countries like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey.
These workers are enticed by Bulgaria’s favorable working conditions, economic prospects, and geographical proximity to their home countries.
But is it complicated to hire foreign workers in Bulgaria? How long does it take and what are the fees?
Let’s find out.
6 Steps to Hiring Foreign Workers in Bulgaria
The employment of foreign nationals in Bulgaria is regulated by the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility. This law plays a pivotal role in defining who enters the country, who can obtain a work permit and the type of employment they can undertake.
It’s important to note that Bulgarian law makes no distinction between skilled and unskilled workers. Work permit applications are open to all non-EU individuals, regardless of their educational background.
Let’s examine each of the steps involved in the hiring process of foreign workers in Bulgaria.
Step 1: Ensure You Meet the Requirements for Hiring Foreign Workers in Bulgaria
When hiring foreign workers in Bulgaria, you must meet the following requirements:
- As a general rule, foreign workers can make up a maximum of 20% of your total workforce. However, if you’re running a small or medium-sized company, you can hire up to 35% from other countries.
- You should not have received a penalty for illegal employment or violating labor laws within the year before applying.
- The terms of employment and compensation for third-country nationals are similar to those of Bulgarian citizens in the same job category.
- You should not have fired employees from the same job categories, professions, and qualification levels as those you intend to hire from third countries in the past 6 months.
Step 2: Conduct a Labor Market Test
A labor market test serves as proof for the competent authorities that no local workers are available to fill the vacancy.
In order to test the market, you must advertise the position to Bulgarian and EU nationals for at least 15 days. If you can’t find the right candidate within this timeframe, you can begin searching for international candidates.
Step 3: Obtain Approval for a Work Permit
You must request approval for a work permit from the local Employment Agency. This will give your future employee access to the Bulgarian labor market.
The most common type of work permit in Bulgaria is the single residence and work permit.
You will get approval from the Employment Agency if the results of the labor market test show that you are unable to find qualified workers locally. The documents you must submit with your application are as follows:
- Justification of the request to obtain a work permit. This includes copies of job ads and results of the labor market test
- Copy of job description including the national code of the job position
- Documents proving the education and qualifications of your future employee (translated and legalized)
- Declaration showing the number of foreign workers in the company (if applicable)
- Declaration stating that the salary and working conditions are similar to those of Bulgarian citizens for the category of employment
- Copy of the fixed-term employment contract
- Copy of the worker’s passport
- Worker’s criminal record
- Proof of accommodation in Bulgaria
- Medical insurance
- Document stating that the requirements for practicing a profession listed in Bulgaria’s Registry of regulated professions, as per Article 3 of the Law on Recognizing Professional Qualifications, are fulfilled
- Declaration about the number of employees in the company in the past 12 months
The application fee is BGN 100.
Typically, the Employment Agency takes 20 days to review the application.
Step 4: Your Future Employee Applies for a Long-Term Visa
After you’ve obtained approval for a single permit, your future employee must apply for a long-term visa type “D” at the competent Bulgarian Embassy.
This visa will give them the right to enter Bulgaria.
Below is the list of supporting documents they must submit to the Embassy:
- Bulgarian visa application form
- Valid travel document (original and photocopy)
- A full-color photograph of 3,5 cm х 4,5 cm
- Medical insurance covering at least 30,000 EUR
- Flight reservation
- Proof of financial means
- Proof of accommodation
- Criminal record
- Copy of work permit
- Proof of paid fee (100 EUR)
As part of the application process, the applicant will need to attend an interview.
In most cases, the processing time for a visa for Bulgaria is 35 working days.
Step 5: Your Employee Applies for a Residence Permit
After entering Bulgaria, your employee must apply for a residence permit at the Migration Directorate. To obtain a residence permit, they must submit the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Proof of accommodation
- Employment contract as proof of sufficient financial means
- Medical insurance
The fee for a residence permit is BGN 110.
In most cases, the Migration Directorate will issue the residence permit in 14 days.
Step 6: Your Employee Applies for a Bulgarian Identity Document
Getting a Bulgarian ID is the last step in the hiring process. Your employee can begin working only once they have this document in hand.
To obtain an ID card, they must submit the following documents to the Migration Directorate:
- Valid passport
- Copy of the residence permit
- Proof of paid fee
The time it takes to receive an ID card can range from 3 to 30 days, based on whether they choose standard, fast, or express processing.
The cost for the ID card varies, with fees ranging from BGN 45 to BGN 255 depending on the processing speed selected.
After your employee obtains a Bulgarian ID card and starts working, you must notify the territorial department of the General Labor Inspectorate that the worker has started their job.
Hiring Foreign Workers in Bulgaria: Final Considerations
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