Working in Bulgaria

 Work and residence permits

 The citizens of the EU, the citizens of the countries from the European Economic Area agreement and the citizens of the Swiss Confederation as well as the members of their families can enter and leave Bulgaria with their ID cards or passports and can freely stay for a period of 3 months. After this period they have to register, if they to receive a long-term residence permit.

 Finding a job in Bulgaria

 The citizens of the EU, EEA and the Swiss Confederation do not need a work permit in order to work in Bulgaria. Job seekers can check for available job vacancies on the EURES portal, Employment Agency’s web page, or Bulgarian EURES website. In order to register and seek employment through the network of 107 local job centers, you will be required to produce a certificate showing your address in Bulgaria, issued by the Migration Directorate at the local police department.

Registration with the Job Centre requires the following documents:

  • ID card;
  • document attesting to previous work experience;
  •  licence to practise a particular profession if applicable.

Documents certifying the completion the educational level, any qualifications and a license to practice a certain profession you legalize in the country of issuance. Information, consultations, qualification,  soft skills trainings and job mediation services will be provided to all registered job seekers. Information can be obtained at the Employment Agency offices, which will also provide you with information about registered private agencies offering job placement intermediation services and temporary employment agencies for an alternative route to employment. Bulgarian EURES advisers provide job seekers with information in English, German or French. Services provided to job seekers by employment agencies are free of charge. Yet another alternative is applying for job vacancies published in the national and regional media.

 Applying for a job

 Prepare a good CV using European CV format available on the Europass web page – Employers usually ask for a brief letter of motivation along with the CV, so that applicants can demonstrate their interest in the particular job. Following the approval of the initially submitted documents, employers ask for additional information and documentation, so it will be useful to have translated and authenticated, documents attesting to the level of education completed and qualifications, professional skills experience for the position you are applying, or references from previous employers. If registered with a Job Center, applicants interested in a particular vacancy job published by it will be provided with a reference letter to present to the employer.

 Qualifications and diploma recognition

 Obtaining recognition of qualifications and competences can play a vital role in a person’s decision to take up work in another EU country. Different education and training systems often make it difficult for employers and institutions to assess qualifications. EU citizens should be able to practice their profession in any other Member State, but in reality different national requirements do not allow access to certain professions in the host country. EU regulations have provided a system to recognize professional qualifications, in which a distinction has been made between regulated professions, for which certain qualifications are legally required, and professions not legally regulated in a Member State.

There are two types of recognition one for academic purposes and the other  for mutual recognition for professional purposes:

  • The recognition for academic purposes is to provide access to further education and training, as well as to facilitate the access to practicing a certain profession;
  • The recognition for professional purposes is to provide access to practicing a profession, recognition of professional competencies. The legislation specifies the options of the professional qualifications recognition procedure (acquired within the framework of the system of higher education – Directive 89/48 of the EEC and sector Directives for lawyers, architects general practitioners, dentists, veterinarians, nurses and midwives; within the system of vocational training, which is not a part of the system of higher education /vocational schools, professional schools, etc./ – Directive 92/51 of the EEC). Only the regulated professions have to go through a professional recognition procedure. An updated list of regulated professions in Bulgaria was approved by Decision № 619 of the Council of Ministers on 20 July 2009.

The web pages of the National Center for Information and Documentation /NACID/  and  provide information about the list of regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria, additional information about the academic recognition, the necessary documents and who can submit them.

 Labour contracts and labour law

Signing and terminating a labour contract. The rules for the employment relations between employers and workers in Bulgaria are stipulated in the terms and conditions of employment contracts, which are concluded on a mandatory basis. Employment contracts are concluded in writing to set out the place of employment, the job title, the date of the contract, the duration of employment, the amount of the basic and any additional paid annual leave, the remuneration and duration of the working day or week.

The employer is obligated to notify the regional directorate of the National Revenue Agency (NRA) and provide the worker or employee with a copy of the employment contract signed by the two parties and a copy of the notification sent to the regional directorate of the NRA not later than three days upon signing the contract.

Employment contracts may be concluded for an indefinite or definite period of time – fixed-term employment contracts, which become indefinite contracts when the worker continues to work for the employer for five or more days after the expiry of the fixed term and no objection has been received in writing from the employer. Most labour contracts include a trial period of up to six months. The employer is obligated to inform the worker in writing of any changes to the terms of employment contract not later than one month after such changes become effective.

Employment contracts concluded for an indefinite period are terminated by a at least one month notice and those concluded for fixed periods by a no longer then three month notice. The contract may be terminated without prior notice by mutual consent of the parties or upon their expiry; or when a worker or employee has been a replacement for another one, who returns from a temporary leave of absence; when the work for which a person has been hired is completed etc.

Employers may dismiss employees who have qualified for retirement based on age and length of service with a month’s notice. Employees may terminate their employment contract with the employer under the same conditions, but without notice. A new type of employment contract was introduced in 2015, for short term seasonal agricultural work. Such contracts have duration of one day and must be certified by the General Labour Inspectorate. The Labour Code sets out more detailed information about employment relations.