Modern labor market dynamics are increasingly confronting employers with the hypothesis of hiring third-country workers, ie. citizens of countries outside the European Union. We remind you that from 01.06.2021. Amendments to the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (HRD) and the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility (ZTMTM) on the terms and conditions for access to the Bulgarian labor market third-country nationals. What should employers mean in order to fulfill exactly their statutory obligations?
Employment of third-country workers in connection with highly qualified employment and issuance of “ EU Blue Card ”
For the purpose of hiring highly qualified workers from third countries, a single residence and work permit type „ EU Blue Card ” from Directorate “ Migration ” to the Ministry of Interior needs to be obtained. The permit is issued for a period of up to 4 years, and when the term of the employment contract is shorter – for the term of the contract, extended by three months, and can be renewed. To obtain a type ” EU Blue Card ”, the following conditions must be met simultaneously:
- the worker – third-country national, to have the necessary competence – acquired higher education, which is certified by a diploma, certificate or other document issued by a competent authority, after training of at least three years, conducted by an educational institution recognized as a higher education institution by the country concerned;
- the gross salary specified in the employment contract of the worker – third-country national, be at least 1.5 times higher than the average salary in the Republic of Bulgaria according to the available data for the last 12 months before the conclusion of the employment contract;
- the term of the employment contract should be not less than 12 months.
Procedural consistency in the employment of highly qualified third-country workers
Application for a residence and work permit type „ EU Blue Card ” is submitted together with the relevant documents in the „ Migration Directorate “ or in the / sector department/group „ Migration “ with the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior by the employer, a person authorized by him or a person from the foreigner, when he holds a long-term residence permit. In the presence of positive written observations by the Employment Agency and the State Agency „ National Security ” Directorate „ Migration “ sends an electronic message to the employer stating, that for the foreigner there are grounds for exercising highly qualified employment. After the employer notifies the person of the message, he should submit an application for a visa under Art. 15, para. 1 of the CITA, and in the presence of such – to appear in person with relevant documents in the Directorate „ Migration ”. The Director of the Directorate or an official authorized by him shall issue or refuse the issuance of the long-term residence and work permit. It should be borne in mind, that, when hiring third-country workers for the purposes of highly qualified employment, the employer is obliged to notify the relevant territorial directorate within 7 days of the actual commencement of the work by the person Executive Agency „ General Labor Inspectorate “.
Hiring seasonal workers from third countries
Condition for hiring seasonal workers from third countries is the issuance of a residence and work permit type „ Permission for seasonal worker ” under Art. 24k, para. 1 ZHRB from the Ministry of Interior. Such foreigners who apply for a residence permit for the purpose of seasonal work from 90 days to 9 months within any period of 12 months, as when applying for the permit the person must reside outside the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. The procedure for issuing “ seasonal worker permit ” when hiring seasonal workers from third countries is identical to that of hiring highly qualified workers. The conditions for access to the labor market are as follows:
- the position should be on the List of Economic Sectors, including activities, the implementation of which depends on the change of seasons, approved by the Minister and Labor and Social Policy. The current list, approved by Order RD-01-47 / 17.01.2017 of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, includes two sectors: agriculture, forestry and fisheries; hotels and restaurants;
- the offered working conditions and pay should not be less favorable than the conditions for the Bulgarian citizens for the respective category of work;
- the foreigner to have specialized knowledge, skills and professional experience necessary for the respective position, proved by legalized and translated into Bulgarian documents;
- the employer has provided the seasonal worker with an appropriate, meeting all safety and health requirements, housing until the expiry of the contract, as for the use of the dwelling the seasonal worker concludes a lease agreement;
- the employer to cover at his own expense the transport costs from the place of origin of the seasonal worker to his workplace in the Republic of Bulgaria and vice versa, as well as the costs of compulsory health insurance and insurance of the seasonal worker.
Other hypotheses for hiring third-country workers
Employment of third-country workers with „ Single residence and work permit ” takes place when:
- the total number of third-country nationals authorized for long-term residence working for the local employer in the previous 12 months does not exceed 20 per cent of the average number of employees under employment, and for small and medium enterprises within the meaning of art. 3, para. 1, item 1 of the Small and Medium Enterprises Act – 35 per cent, as Art. 15, para. 2 ZTMTM provides for exceptions to this requirement;
- the offered working conditions and pay are not more unfavorable than the conditions for the Bulgarian citizens for the respective category of work;
- the foreigner has specialized knowledge, skills and professional experience necessary for the respective position, for which official documents are submitted, legalized according to the respective order.
„ Intra-corporate transferee permit ”, on the other hand, is issued for the purposes of employment on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria only for a specific host enterprise or group of enterprises. The permit is issued for a period of one year, with the possibility of renewal, and when the term of the employment contract is shorter than one year – for the duration of the contract. The procedure is only applicable to persons transferred in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer as managers, specialists or trainees, as legal definitions for these categories of workers are contained in § 1, items 23, 27 and 28 of the Additional Provisions of ZTMTM. In addition, persons should have worked in the same undertaking or group of undertakings for a certain period of time immediately before the date of submission of the application – not less than 12 months for managers and specialists and not less than 6 months – for trainee employees.
Applications for „ Single residence and work permit ” and „ Long-term residence permit for an intra-corporate transferee ” are also submitted under the single application procedure, which is regulated by the legal amendments to the HRD and the LTC in force from 01.06.2021 and which leads to the issuance of a combined administrative act, including a residence permit and a work permit.