Hiring employees for work in Bulgaria

Development and management of business in Bulgaria involves a good knowledge in different  fields: banking and credit institutions, tax law, work permits, customs regime, construction and building permits, litigation. Global Business Group can help you organize and manage your  business planning.

  • Bulgaria offers a highly skilled and multilingual workforce.
  • Bulgaria offers the most competitive salary levels in Europe

In connection with the growing number inquiries and interest from Italian companies to invest in Bulgaria, Global Business Group guarantees with competencies, resources and experience for providing services related to:

  • Searching, finding and retaining personnel – this service is focused on Italian companies who want to hire labour in Bulgaria. We provide selection and recruitment services also law advisement in the field of recruitment;
  • Accounting services, labor and payroll – this service is designed for companies who need a comprehensive accounting service. Consultations related to establishment of tax status and tax liabilities of foreigners; working in the country; determination of income subject to tax in Bulgaria/abroad; defining the obligations of the employer withholding taxes and insurance; the support of the employer in the performance of his duties for tax preparation and more.

What I should know about hiring employees for work in Bulgaria ?

Foreigners may work in Bulgaria only after obtaining a work permit, unless otherwise stipulated by the law.  The grounds for obtaining a work permit are signing an employment contract with a Bulgarian employer, or sending to a business trip for undertaking of certain activities in Bulgaria.

European citizens may be employed, self-employed or commissioned to a business trip and may work in Bulgaria without restrictions and without the need of work permits.

Work permits required for Foreigners must be requested by the local employer and are issued by the Bulgarian Employment Agency.  A number of legal terms and conditions must be met for the permit to be issued.  Work permits are issued for a maximum duration of 1 year.  If a work permit is granted to a Foreigner on the basis of a signed employment contract with a local employer, generally, such a permit can be extended, if the terms and conditions for its issuance are still valid, but the total duration may not exceed 3 (three) years.  The term of validity of a work permit issued to a Foreigner, who is sent on a business trip, cannot be extended for further one-year periods, unless by exception.

Bulgarian employers must report signed labour contracts with Foreigners and European citizens at the National Revenue Agency within 3 days from their signing.

European citizens, who are sent on a business trip to Bulgaria, are subject to one-off registration at the Bulgarian Employment Agency, which is performed by the local person accepting the seconded employees.

Outlined below is a list of the main categories of foreigners who may work in Bulgaria without the need of possessing a work permit:

  • Managers of companies or branches of foreign legal entities
  • Members of the Managing Board or Board of Directors of local companies, who are not employed on a labour contract
  • Trade representatives of foreign companies registered at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Foreigners who have obtained long-term or permanent residence status in Bulgaria, and
  • Family members of a European citizen or of a Foreigner who has been granted long-term residence status in Bulgaria.

Foreigners may also be engaged to perform short-term assignments without a work permit under the following conditions:

They are sent on a business trip to Bulgaria by their foreign employer

  • The assignment in Bulgaria is no longer than 3 months within a period of one year
  • The assignment encompasses any of the following: (i) the installation or the warranty repair of imported machinery and equipment; (ii) training in the operating of equipment or the delivery of ordered equipment, machines or other items; (iii) training as part of an export contract for the supply of goods under a license agreement.

For this purpose a one-off registration of the Foreigner should be performed at the Bulgarian Employment Agency before commencement of the assignment.

“EU Blue Card” residence and work permit

With amendments to the Bulgarian laws and regulations, which took place in January and June 2011, additional ground for work and stay of Foreigners was introduced in the local legislation, namely employment under a labour contract for the purpose of highly-qualified work. Major precondition for obtaining by a Foreigner of a permit for work and residence type “EU Blue Card” is that the Foreigner shall have a university degree of education obtained on the basis of at least three-year educational course. In order to apply for an EU Blue Card, the Foreigner should first obtain a permit for exercising of highly-qualified employment and a long-stay visa.  The permit for exercising of highly-qualified employment is issued by the Bulgarian Employment Agency within fifteen calendar days following the submission of the relevant application and required documents.  The procedure for obtaining the permit from the Employment Agency should be initiated by the local employer of the Foreigner and the employer should pay the due state fee. For the purpose of obtaining of an EU Blue Card the Foreigner must file an application to the Migration Directorate at the Ministry of Internal Affairs not later than 7 days prior to expiration of the term of the long-stay visa. The Foreigner should enclose to the application:

  • a copy of his/her valid international passport, including the issued long-stay visa
  • documents evidencing that the Foreigner is health insured in compliance with the Bulgarian legislation. The permit for exercising of highly-qualified employment is ex officio provided to the Migration Directorate by the Employment Agency.

EU Blue cards are issued for a period of up to one year and can be renewed for further one-year periods without limitation, as long as the grounds for their issuance still exist. According to the law, the family members of a Foreigner, who has been granted an “EU Blue Card”, are entitled to obtain extended residence permits in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period equal to the term of residence permitted to the holder of the “EU Blue Card”.

Source: Invest Bulgaria Agency