(Updated on 30.01.2023)
Increasing number of companies start outsourcing their headquarters’ or back office’s functions to Bulgaria. The new job openings attract experts from all over the world. However, the Non-EU citizens often face difficulties dealing with the bureaucracy related to their decision to live and work in Bulgaria.
One of the legal grounds for a Non-EU national to work and reside in Bulgaria under Directive 2009/50/EU is the EU Blue card.
I. EU Blue Card requirements
The Blue card constitutes a combined work and residence permit issued for a period of up to 5 years.
The Blue Card could be issued for:
- Foreigner nationals who meet the conditions for highly qualified employment under Bulgarian legislation; and
- Foreigner nationals who have been granted international protection in the Republic of Bulgaria or a Member State of the EU, as long as they also meet the conditions for highly qualified employment under Bulgarian legislation
The requirement for a highly qualified employee is met if:
- The Non-EU national holds a university degree obtained after at least 3 years’ educational course by an educational institution recognized as a higher education institution by the State concerned
- When relating to positions included in the list approved by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy – The Non-EU national has the relevant knowledge, skills and competences of professional experience at a level comparable to higher education, acquired within the period specified in the list and relevant to the position or sector referred to in the Employment Contract. This relevant knowledge, skills and competences of professional experience should be attested by a document issued by a competent authority by the State concerned or current and former employers or educational organisations.
- When relating to positions which are NOT included in the list approved by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy – The Non-EU national has the relevant knowledge, skills and competences following at least 5 years’ professional experience at a level comparable to higher education and relevant to the position or sector specified in the Employment Contract. This relevant knowledge, skills and competences for at least 5 years’ professional experience should be attested by a document issued by a competent authority by the State concerned or by current and former employers or educational organisations.
The gross labour remuneration to be paid to the foreign national should be at least 1.5 times higher than the average salary in Bulgaria for the last 12 months.
II. Rights for remote work and travel in EU. Change of employer
The EU Blue Card holder can work remotely on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, if this is agreed in the Employment Contract. When there is a change in circumstances and the work will be performed from another location, the foreigner should:
- notify the Employment Agency; and
- change its address registration.
EU Blue Card holders can benefit from a simplified procedure when changing the employer and the job position.
In the event of a change of employer:
- during the first 12 months of highly qualified employment – the new employer or a person authorised by him or the foreigner should submit an application for a change of employer on paper or electronically to the Migration Directorate.
The Director of the Migration Directorate or an official authorised by him issues a decision for a new EU Blue Card.
- after the first 12 months of highly qualified employment – the foreigner can change his employer after notifying the Employment Agency.
The holder of the EU Blue Card issued by the Republic of Bulgaria may enter and reside in a member state of the European Union for a period of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days for the purpose of carrying out specific official work.
III. Procedure for obtaining EU Blue Card
The process for obtaining a Blue Card could be divided into five main steps.
1. Submission of an application on paper or electronically at the Migration Directorate
This step can be completed by:
- the future employer of the Non-EU national or by a person authorised by him/her; or
- the Non-EU national
The documents are submitted in the district administration of the Migration Directorate in Bulgaria. The list of documents to be presented includes among other standard documents also:
- Criminal record certificate;
- Documents of education, specialty, legal capacity, professional qualification and/or experience of the Non-EU national which should be translated in Bulgarian language and legalized.
2. Permission by the Employment Agency
The Employment Agency reviews the submitted documents and sends electronically to the Migration Directorate a written statement.
3. Positive statement
Once the Employment Agency has completed the step under p.2, the Migration Directorate sends a combined positive statement electronically to: 1) the future employer of the Non-EU national or to the person authorised by him/her or 2) to the foreign national (depending on who submitted the application to the Migration Directorate) containing permission for the applicant to apply for Visa D.
4. Visa D
Once the permission is granted the Non-EU national should apply for Visa D at the Bulgarian embassy in his/her place of residence.
5. Application before Migration
After his/her entry on the territory of Bulgaria, the foreign national shall appear in person at the Migration Directorate and apply for a plastic ID Blue Card.
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