1. Definition of а “foreigner” in Bulgaria

A foreigner is any person who is not a Bulgarian citizen, as well as stateless persons.

The appointment of a citizen of a Member State or a country of the European Economic Area (EEA), for example, citizens of Iceland or citizens of the Swiss Confederation, is easy. This is thanks to the guaranteed right of free movement within the European Union. But if you want to hire a third-country national in your company, you need to get permission from the competent authorities.

  1. First steps for the employment of a foreigner to work in Bulgaria

Make sure that:

  • There is no requirement for Bulgarian citizenship for the position to which you intend to appoint a foreigner.
  • The foreigner you want to hire has the necessary specialized knowledge, skills and professional experience.
  • Ensure equal working conditions and wages for foreigners and Bulgarians working in the same category of work.
  • In the previous 12 months, the number of foreigners hired by you does not exceed 20% of the average number of employed Bulgarian citizens (nationals of other EU Member States also), States from the EEA, or the Confederation Switzerland, etc.
  • The foreigner is legally resident on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
  1. Which foreigners can`t be employed in Bulgaria?

It is important to be aware that you are not allowed to appoint a specific category of a foreigner to work in your company. These are the following categories of foreigners:

  • Persons who have received a short-stay visa in Bulgaria, unless I want to appoint them for seasonal work.
  • Persons who have been granted a long-term residence permit in Bulgaria, where, for example, they have been entitled to a pension under our legislation and are able to support themselves.
  • Carry out commercial activity on the territory of our country with at least 10 jobs for Bulgarian citizens.
  • They are representatives of foreign companies registered in the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  • Financially insured parents of a Bulgarian citizen or a foreigner with a permanent residence permit.
  • Has been admitted to a long-term treatment in a medical establishment, have sufficient financial resources to provide their medical treatment and withstand it.
  • Wish to pursue a non-profit activity.
  • Has purchased real estate in Bulgaria for at least BGN 600,000.
  1. Documents required

To obtain permission to hire a foreigner, you must submit an application-form, to which you apply:

  • Justification of your request – why you want to hire a foreigner, what prompted you to do so, etc.
  • Education documents of the foreigner acquired competence and professional qualifications and work experience which owns.
  • A statement on the employees of the company – third-country nationals employed under a contract of employment.
  • Statement-declaration of the number of employed by the company under employment law Bulgarian citizens and citizens with the right of free movement within the EU – for the previous 12 months, signed by the owner of the company and the chief accountant.
  • Declaration that the above mentioned conditions have been complied with on the specifics provided for by law.
  • The documents required for holding the position indicated – such as a criminal record, a computer literacy document, a recommendation from a previous employer, a driver’s license and others, where required.
  • A certified copy of a fixed-term employment contract signed between the owner and the employee and a copy of the job description.
  • A copy of the page of the travel document with the photograph and personal data of the third-country national.
  • Two color photographs 3.5 / 4.5 cm format of the worker – third-country national.

When submitting the documents, you should pay a bank fee of BGN 100 for the service

Important! If you submit false information to the Agency, the foreigner will not have the right of access to the Bulgarian labor market. So even if you want to employ someone at all costs and try to abuse the system, you will still not avoid the adverse effects.

  1. Permits and time limits

The employment permit is issued by the Employment Agency. That is where you must submit the necessary documents. The authorization shall be issued by the Executive Director. You should expect a response within 30 days. If there is an omission or irregularity in the documents you will be notified and then you have 15 days to fix the problem.

If you are allowed to conclude an employment contract with the foreigner, it may be a maximum of 1 year. This period may be extended up to a total of 3 years.

  1. In case of refusal

You may get a refusal to hire a foreigner if:

  • If any of the first steps for the appointment of a foreigner in Bulgaria are violated or if the prospective worker has only a short-stay visa.
  • You have not followed any of the necessary procedures – for example, you have not remedied any deficiencies in your application.
  • In the last 2 years, you have entered into force a penal decree for the use of work of a foreign citizen without the right of access to the labor market or to a illegally resident.
  • For the last 1 year, you have been sanctioned for non-payment of wages or employment of a foreigner without the necessary permission of the Employment Agency.
  • You have been declared liquidated or bankrupt.
  • The foreigner you want to hire has already worked or is working illegally in Bulgaria at the time of application, etc.

If a refusal is issued, you have the right to appeal. You have 14 days to challenge it afore the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

NB! Permission to access the labor market applies to a specific employer, to a specific job and a specific third-country national.

The best solution for hiring a foreigner in Bulgaria

To insure yourself against a possible refusal by the Employment Agency to hire a foreign citizen to work in Bulgaria, use the services of a local firm specialized in corporate administration. Such an association is Euroformat.eu, part of the VD&A group. The experts from this legal-consulting firm are among the best not only in Bulgaria but also in Europe in the field of corporate law. They will give you valuable advice and guide all the administrative & accounting activities of your company in to the right direction. To the full success of your business on the Bulgarian market.

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