Long-term residence and work type “ EU Blue Card ”


In view of the need of the Bulgarian economy for highly qualified personnel in the labor market, the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility, promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 8 of 2023.. Some of the changes concern the authorization of long-term residence and work type “ EU Blue Card ” for the purposes of highly qualified employment.

The changes in the legislation are in line with the adopted regulations at European Union level and aim to reduce the administrative burden in relation to the procedure for issuing a residence permit to highly qualified foreigners, who want to develop on the Bulgarian labor market. These changes are also necessary in view of the need of Bulgarian employers to grow and modernize their activities, providing them with access to staff, whose market shortage has a negative impact on the development of their business.

I. Who can benefit from the changes?

  • Highly qualified foreign workers;
  • Bulgarian employers who provide services for which highly qualified staff are required, but cannot find such staff on the Bulgarian labor market.

II. What are the requirements for foreigners to acquire “ EU Blue Card ”?

  • The foreigner holds a long-stay visa or a permit for all types of long-term residence in the Republic of Bulgaria, or
  • The foreigner qualifies for highly qualified employment under Bulgarian law and who have been granted international protection in the Republic of Bulgaria or a Member State of the European Union, within the meaning of the Asylum and Refugee Act.

III.  What is the term of “ EU Blue Card ”?

  • “ EU Blue Card ” is issued for up to 5 years, but not less than 24 months.

Employers who intend to take advantage of the possibility to hire highly qualified foreign specialists in this order should keep in mind that the exact duration of the permit depends on the duration of the concluded employment contract with the specialist.

The blue card can be reissued if there are preconditions for this.

The whole process of issuing “ EU Blue Card ” is characterized by cooperation between the employee and the employer, which should jointly initiate the procedure and coordinate their actions.

IV. What other rights do holders of “ EU Blue Card ” have?

  • Workers with a long-term residence permit type “ EU Blue Card ” have the opportunity to change their employer without losing their Blue Card. In this case, the employer change procedure is significantly facilitated.

Thus, the legislator has created conditions for competition in the market not only between workers, but also between employers.

  • The holder of “ EU Blue Card ”, after carrying out employment in Bulgaria for 12 months, may work in another EU Member State.
  • The holder of “ EU Blue Card ” benefits from health insurance.

V. Who is the competent authority to consider the “ Blue Card ”?

  • The Director of the Migration Directorate or an official authorized by him shall issue or refuse a long-term residence and work permit type “ EU Blue Card ”.

For the purposes of the procedure, the Employment Agency and the State Agency “ National Security ” give an opinion within their competence.

VI. What are the basic requirements for the employer to issue “ Blue Card ”?

 The employer should justify the circumstances that require the employment of a foreign robber, as well as the reason not to hire a Bulgarian citizen, a citizen of another Member State of the European Union, of a State Party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, or of the Swiss Confederation.

The employer concerned should justify his need for a foreign highly qualified worker. This justification is most often prepared in view of the lack of workers in the labor market who have the necessary qualifications to perform the work. The employer should have tried to fill the position, but failed to find a person who met the requirements for its borrowing.

VII.  The employee applying for “ Blue Card ” should be highly qualified and provide evidence of this.

In order for the employee to be considered to have the qualities to exercise highly qualified employment, he should:

(a) have acquired higher education, after training of not less than three academic years, conducted by an educational institution recognized as a higher education by the State concerned; or

(b) professional experience at a level comparable to higher education acquired when referring to positions listed in the list, approved by an order of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy; or

(c) at least five years of professional experience at a level comparable to higher education acquired in all other cases. 

VIII.  How long does the procedure for issuing “ Blue Card ” last?

  • The procedure for granting a long-term residence and work permit type “ EU Blue Card ” may not be longer than three months.

Specialists from Consulting House „ Veliko and Partners “ can assist if you want to initiate a procedure for hiring foreign workers.  We will be happy to share our experience and expertise to help with your endeavor.


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