Amendments in the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act
The National Assembly adopted amendments and supplements to the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act (“LMLMA”), whereby with the final provisions amendments and supplements in the Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria Act (“FRBA”) and in the Health Insurance Act are made. The amended Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act is published in State Gazette, Issue No. 8, dated 25.01.2023 and is effective as of 29.01.2023.
The amendments aim to simplify the access of highly skilled specialists, third-country nationals, to the Bulgarian labour market and to align the national legislation with European trends for attracting highly skilled workers from outside the EU.
Below is a summary of the more important amendments.
The legal definition of “high professional qualification” is supplemented
With the amendments the candidates can now prove their high professional qualification, in addition to a university degree, in one of the following ways:
- With an official document proving at least 5 years of professional experience at a level comparable to higher education, related to the positions or sector specified in the foreigner’s employment contract – for positions included in a list approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy,
- With knowledge, skills and qualifications which are certified by an official document for at least 5 years professional experience at a level comparable to that of acquired university education and which are relevant to the positions or sector specified in the employment contract – for positions outside the above hypothesis.
The approval of the abovementioned list with positions is upcoming.
Extended scope of persons who can apply for an “EU Blue Card”
The legislative amendments allow third-country nationals who are meeting the requirements for highly qualified employment to apply for an “EU Blue Card”, provided they have:
- Long-term residence permit in Bulgaria, irrespective of the grounds on which it was issued (except for the persons referred to in Article 33k, para. 21 of the FRBA and Article 23 of the LMLMA);
- Granted international protection in the Republic of Bulgaria or a Member State of the European Union within the meaning of the Asylum and Refugees Act.
The maximum allowed term of validity of the “EU Blue Card” is extended
The long-term residence and work permit type “EU Blue Card” can now be issued for a maximum period of 5 years.
The employment contract can now be concluded for a minimum period of 6 months. Where the term of the employment contract is shorter than 24 months, the permit will be issued for the term of the contract, extended by three months, but for a maximum period of 24 months.
Applying for an “EU Blue Card” electronically
The adopted amendments enable the application for an “EU Blue Card” to be submitted electronically to the Migration Directorate or to the regional directorates of the Ministry of Interior.
The application for the issuance of the “EU Blue Card” can also be submitted to the Migration Directorate, regardless of the address of residence of the foreigner, while the application of the plastic card shall be submitted at the address of residence of the foreigner.
The holder of an “EU Blue Card” is allowed to carry out his/her employment duties remotely if this is agreed in the foreigner’s employment contract or in an annex thereto, under the conditions and the procedure, determined in the Labour Code. Upon the transition to remote working, the employer or a person authorized by the employer shall immediately notify the Migration Directorate.
In the event of a transition to a remote work in a location other than the one specified in the “EU Blue Card” permit, the employer or a person authorized by him or the foreigner shall change his/her address registration under the conditions and the procedure, determined in the Civil Registration Act.
Business trip of “EU Blue Card” holders
According to the latest amendments the holder of an “EU Blue Card”, issued by the Republic of Bulgaria, can enter and reside in an EU Member State for a period of up to 90 days within a period of 180 days for the purpose of carrying out work.
On the other hand, the holder of an “EU Blue Card”, issued by another EU Member State, can enter and reside on the territory of Bulgaria for the purpose of carrying out a specific work activity for a period of up to 90 days within 180 days. If the work activity is planned to last for or exceed 90 days within 180 days, the “EU Blue Card” holder should apply for an “EU Blue Card” in Bulgaria if at least 12 months have elapsed since the first Member State issued the card, or immediately cease his/her employment activity on the territory of the country.
Simplified change of employer
After the first 12 months of employment the holder of an “EU Blue Card” can change his/her employer only by submitting a notification form on paper or electronically by the new employer. This option will be feasible once the technical conditions for that are established at the Migration Directorate.
Evidence of insured accommodation
A new option for electronic submission of the Declaration for provision of residence address is created. For this purpose, the declaration should be signed with a qualified electronic signature by the owner of the rented housing.
Foreign nationals who have been granted a residence and work permit type “EU Blue Card” are subject to mandatory health insurance as from the date of obtaining the “EU Blue Card” holder.
How can we help?
The KPMG team remains at your disposal should you have any questions or need assistance regarding the interpretation and application of the amendments and supplements to the LMLMA and FRBA.
Associate Manager, Legal Advisory Services
Tel.: +359 2 9697 600
Lawyer, Legal Advisory Services
Tel.: +359 2 9697 600