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Summary

ClarusApex, an international recruiting agency with bases in Ukraine and Bulgaria gets a lot of requests about the status of Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria and the possibility to work legally in the country.

Citizens of Ukraine can access the Bulgarian labor market under simplified procedures if they are having Bulgarian origin, have seasonal work for up to 90 days within 12 months, or are granted the right to asylum or international protection in Bulgaria.

We describe the different scenarios in the following in detail as even simplified processes can be sometimes complicated and troublesome.

Simplified Process for Bulgarian work permit for Ukrainian refugees

Citizens of Ukraine can access the Bulgarian labor market to work under the following simplified procedures:

  1. The employment of Ukrainian citizens who have the necessary documents certifying their Bulgarian origin is regulated by registration with the Employment Agency. They must also have an employment contract with a local employer for a minimum period of 6 months. Further information on the procedure can be found here: Bulgarian Origin
  2. Ukrainian citizens are entitled to up to 90 days of seasonal work in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, hotels, and restaurants in Bulgaria without interruption within 12 months.

    This requires registration with the Employment Agency on the basis of a declaration submitted by the employer. They must also hold a valid seasonal work visa, where required.

    The employer is obliged to provide the worker with adequate accommodation. Further information on the procedure can be found here: Seasonal Work for Ukrainians 

  3. The declaration of employment of Ukrainians, enjoying rights under the Asylum and Refugees Act is an obligation of the Bulgarian employer who has hired them under an employment contract. In this case, non-EU nationals must have a valid residence permit and an employment contract with a local employer. Ukrainian citizens who have lodged an application for international protection and the procedure has not been completed within three months of the lodging of the application for reasons beyond their control have the right to work in Bulgaria without a work permit until the procedure is completed. Further information can be found here: Asylum and Refugee Status

    Ukrainians and their family members who have been granted the right to asylum or international protection in Bulgaria have the right to work in Bulgaria without a permit for access to the labor market. People with refugee or humanitarian status can register as jobseekers with the Labour Office Directorate at their permanent or current address of residence.

The following chapters explain the above options in detail.

Reference: https://www.mlsp.government.bg/eng/access-to-the-labor-market-in-bulgaria-for-citizens-of-ukraine

Work permit for Ukrainians with Bulgarian origin

Foreign nationals of Bulgarian descent who legally reside on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria may work on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without a work permit and after registering with the Employment Agency / EA / until they obtain a permanent residence permit.

The phrase “person of Bulgarian origin” refers to a person within the meaning of * 1, item 6 of the additional provisions of the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria / an individual with at least one Bulgarian ascendant.

According to the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, approximately 250.000 to 500,000 people of Bulgarian origin or with Bulgarian identity live in Ukraine.

They are in several districts in Ukraine – Bessarabia, Odesa region, Zaporizhzhia region, Tavria. According to the last official census in 2001, almost 130,000 people with Bulgarian roots live in Bessarabia alone (or over 20% of the total population there). A wave of Ukrainian refugees coming to Bulgaria

The proof of Bulgarian descent, however, requires proper documentation which refugees typically cannot provide.

І. Conditions for employment registration.

Under the Rules for Implementation of the TMTM, Section VII “Registration of Employment of Third-Country Nationals” defines the conditions and procedure for registering employment of persons of Bulgarian origin.

In order to register employment, the following conditions must be met:

1. The third-country national is a person of Bulgarian origin and has documents certifying his Bulgarian origin under the Law on Bulgarians living outside the Republic of Bulgaria;

2. The foreigner has an employment contract concluded under the terms of the Bulgarian legislation with a local employer, concluded for a period of at least six months, according to Art. 11, paragraph 5 of the Regulations for implementation of the FRBA.

ІІ. Necessary documents and requirements to them.

Article 30a, para 1 of the Regulations regarding the application of ZTMTM specifies the documents for employment registration. The employer must submit them to the Central Administration of the Employment Agency located at 3 Dondukov Blvd., Sofia – 1000.

Necessary documents for registration:

1. Declaration according to a sample – Appendix № 5 ; The declaration is submitted in two original copies, along with a description of the attached documents, signature, and seal of the employer. On the back, there is a list of foreigners, with names in Bulgarian and Latin, date of birth, № on the passport, position, and duration of employment / from …… .. to ……. /.

The beginning of employment occurs before the employer submits the declaration. A job contract will specify the duration of employment, which cannot be less than six months.

2. Declaration of the employer that the working conditions have been observed (Art. 7, para. 1, item 2 ZTMTM). The declaration should indicate the names of the specific foreign nationals. A sample declaration is published on the official website of the EA;

3. When required, other documents are required under Bulgarian law to hold the position specified by the employer.

4. A certified copy of the signed and dated fixed-term employment contract, concluded under Bulgarian law, for a position with a code under the NCAP.

5. An official document that specifies the conditions for practicing a profession on the list of regulated professions in Bulgaria, adopted by the Council of Ministers under Article 3 of the Law on Recognition of Professional Qualifications. The list of regulated professions is published at http://professio.nacid.bg/ ;

6. Copy of a document certifying the Bulgarian origin of the foreigner as provided in the Law for Bulgarians living outside the Republic of Bulgaria;

7. Copy of the page of the document for travel abroad with the photo and personal information of the worker – a citizen of a third country.

III. Procedural sequence

Registration of employment in the Employment Agency:

The registration of the employment of Bulgarian origin persons is carried out within 7 days of the submission of the declaration, and it is confirmed by the certification of the declaration by the Executive Authority, and the petitioner receives a certified copy of the registration.

No explicit permission from the Employment Agency is required for the specific foreigners mentioned in Declaration No 5 to access the job market, so ZTMTM does not require payment of a fee.

For each submitted declaration, the Employment Agency collects ex officio information on:

  •  Employers' data entered in BULSTAT Register, or their unified identification code (UIC) as stipulated in Art 23 of the Commercial Register and the Register of Nonprofit Legal Entities;
  • registration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, if any; the current situation – in the case of companies without UIC.
    In connection with the registration of employment of persons of Bulgarian origin, the Employment Agency ex officio requests information from:

The National Revenue Agency for the existence of obligations of the employer according to Art. 87, para. 11 of the Tax-Insurance Procedure Code;
Executive Agency “General Labor Inspectorate” for entering into force penal decrees for violations referred to in Art. 11 ZTMTM.

2. Notification of the Executive Agency “General Labor Inspectorate” / EA GIT /:

Within 7 days of the actual commencement of work of foreigners, employers are required to notify the relevant territorial directorate of the GIT Executive Agency by filling out special forms, published on the official website of the GIT Executive Agency.

EA “General Labor Inspectorate” carries out specialized control activities in connection with the employment of foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria, within which the control authorities have the right to visit all sites where work is carried out, as well as to require personal documents, including from foreigners residing and working there.

Reference: https://www.az.government.bg/pages/zaetost-na-lica-ot-bulgarski-proizhod/

 

Seasonal Work for Ukrainians in Bulgaria

In the event of seasonal work up to 90 days without interruption within a period of 12 months, registration is carried out with the Employment Agency/EA/ on the basis of a declaration submitted by the employer and in compliance with the requirements of Art. 24l of the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria, the foreigner must have a valid visa for the purpose of seasonal work whenever required.

Ukrainian citizens can enter Bulgaria without visa requirements.

An employer may register an alien for employment in the EA when he or she is exempt from the visa requirement under Annex II of Regulation / EC / No 539/2001 determining which third countries require visas for their nationals when crossing the external borders of Member States, as well as which third countries are exempt from this requirement.

That means in practice, that a Ukrainian citizen can enter Bulgaria freely and their employer must register the seasonal employee.

The term “seasonal worker” under the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility / ZTMTM / means a third-country national who retains his permanent residence in a third country and resides legally and temporarily in the Republic of Bulgaria in order to perform seasonal work, on the basis of one or more fixed-term employment contracts concluded directly with an employer whose registered office is in the Republic of Bulgaria.

“Seasonal work” in the sense of ZTMTM is work that depends on the change of seasons and is associated with a particular time of year through a recurring event or series of events related to seasonal conditions in which the need for labor is significantly greater than in ordinary current work.

The procedure for registering seasonal work for up to 90 days is in line with Directive 2014/36 / EU on the entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers.

І. Conditions for employment registration.

The conditions and procedure for access to the labor market of seasonal workers are defined in Chapter Two “Labor Migration from Third Countries”, Section I “General Provisions” and in Section IV “Seasonal Employment” of ZTMTM.

The registration for seasonal work is carried out in compliance with the following conditions:

  1. According to the list of economic sectors, including activities, implementation on which depends on the change of seasons, approved by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy.

    The current list was approved by Order RD-01-47 / 17.01.2017. of the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, which includes two sectors: agriculture, forestry, and fisheries; hotels and restaurants.

  2. Work and payment conditions must not be more unfavorable than the conditions for Bulgarian citizens for that particular work category;
  3. During the term of the agreement, the employer-provided a suitable dwelling that met all requirements concerning health and safety. The seasonal worker enters into a rental contract for the use of the dwelling, as the rental price of the dwelling is determined by the remuneration the seasonal worker receives and by the quality of the dwelling;
  4. The employer is required to cover the costs of the seasonal worker's travel from the place of origin to his workplace in the Republic of Bulgaria and vice versa, as well as the mandatory health insurance and insurance of the seasonal worker. An employee's remuneration cannot be reduced by the rent for a dwelling and by transportation costs;
  5. Prior to the foreign workers commencing work on the country's territory, the EA registration must be completed.

ІІ. Necessary documents and requirements to them.

In the Regulations for the application of ZTMTM, art. 32, para 1 specifies the documents for an employment registration. Employers file them with the Central Administration of the Employment Agency at 3 Dondukov Blvd., Sofia – 1000.

For the convenience of employers wishing to hire foreigners temporarily for up to 90 days, the documents can be submitted to the Regional Employment Services in Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv, and Blagoevgrad, as well as the Labor Office Directorates in Samokov, Smolyan, and Razlog.

Necessary documents for registration:

  1. Declaration according to a sample – Appendix № 5 ; The declaration is submitted in 2 copies in the original, with the described attached documents, signature, and seal of the employer. On the back, there is a list of foreigners, with names in Bulgarian and Latin, date of birth, № on the passport, position, and duration of employment / from …… .. to ……. /.

    Starting the job should not be earlier than 10 days after the employer has submitted the required documents. A job may last up to 90 days after it is started.
  2. Copy of permits/certificates issued to the employer by the competent authorities for carrying out hotel and/or restaurant activities / The document is required only upon registration of employment in the hotel and restaurant sector. For the sector “agriculture, forestry and fisheries” information is required for relevant registration with the Ministry of Agriculture or other competent authority.
  3. Declaration of the employer that the working conditions have been observed (Art. 7, para. 1, item 2 ZTMTM).  Names of foreign nationals should be included in the declaration. Examples can be found on the official website of EA;
  4.  copy of a fixed-term employment contract certified by the employer, concluded under the terms of the Bulgarian law, for a position with an NCAP code, signed by the parties and with a clause “coming into force after registration of employment in the EA and entry of the foreigner in Bulgaria ”. A copy of the job description signed by the persons when it is an integral part of the contract shall be attached to the contract.

    Employers may enter into a fixed-term employment contract with seasonal workers, regulated in Art. 68, para. 3 of the Labor Code. Notice for termination of such contracts is 3 months, but not more than the remaining term of the contract (Article 326, para. 2 of the Labor Code).

    Regardless of the reason for termination of employment with the employee, the employment contract should specify that the cost of transportation from the employee's place of origin to his place of work in the Republic of Bulgaria must be borne by the employer, which also bears the cost of transportation in the opposite direction.

    The contract should also mention the workplace. The workplace is considered to be the seat of the enterprise with which the employment contract has been concluded unless otherwise agreed or follows from the nature of the work. The workplace can be a room, workshop, room, machine location, etc.
  5. Document that the conditions for exercising a profession included in the List of regulated professions in the Republic of Bulgaria, adopted by a decision of the Council of Ministers on the grounds of Art. 3 of the Law on Recognition of Professional Qualifications. The list of regulated professions is published at http://professio.nacid.bg/;
  6. Declaration of the employer that the requirements of art. 28, para. 1 – 2 of ZTMTM / the seasonal worker is provided with a suitable, meeting all requirements for safety and health, housing until the expiration of the contract.

    The declaration should indicate the names of all foreigners listed in the Declaration / Annex № 5 /. A sample declaration is published on the official website of the EA;
  7. Copy of the page of the document for travel abroad with the photo and personal data of the worker – citizen of a third country.

III. Procedural sequence

1. Registration of seasonal work up to 90 days in the Employment Agency:

The registration of seasonal employment up to 90 days without interruption for each period of 12 months is carried out within 10 days from the submission of the declaration for seasonal work and is confirmed by certification of the declaration by the Executive Director of the EA.

The procedure is registration. No explicit permission of the Employment Agency for access to the labor market is provided for the specific foreigners, specified in Declaration № 5, and accordingly, no payment of a fee is required according to ZTMTM.

For each submitted declaration, the Employment Agency collects ex officio information on:

  • The data for the employer entered in the BULSTAT Register, or for the unified identification code (UIC) of the employer according to art. 23 of the Commercial Register and the Register of Non-Profit Legal Entities;
  • Registration with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, if any;
  • The current situation – in the case of companies without UIC.

In connection with the registration of seasonal work up to 90 days, the Employment Agency ex officio requests information from:

  • The National Revenue Agency for the existence of obligations of the employer according to Art. 87, para. 11 of the Tax-Insurance Procedure Code;
  • Executive Agency “General Labor Inspectorate” for entering into force penal decrees for violations referred to in Art. 11 ZTMTM.

The maximum allowable duration of the employment registered with the Employment Agency is up to 90 days. The legislation does not provide for the possibility of changing and/or extending the period of seasonal employment registered by the EA on the grounds of Art. 24, para. 2 of the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility.

In the case of seasonal employment up to 90 days, a change of employer is not allowed, as well as work with another employer by concluding a second employment contract. When registering employment with the Employment Agency, the specific employer and the place of work are explicitly stated in Declaration № 5.

In case of early termination of employment with the foreigner, the employer shall notify the Employment Agency in writing within 3 days from the date of termination of employment.

2. Applying for a visa for the purposes of seasonal employment before the bodies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The employer has a commitment to inform foreigners about the registered employment by providing them with the declaration certified by the EA. Foreigners should submit to the nearest diplomatic or consular mission of the Republic of Bulgaria the relevant documents for obtaining a visa for the purposes of seasonal work when required.

The conditions and the procedure for issuing visas are regulated in the Ordinance on the conditions and the procedure for issuing visas and determining the visa regime, as the competent body is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Notification of the Executive Agency “General Labor Inspectorate” / EA GIT /:

Within 7 days from the actual commencement of work of foreigners, employers are required to notify the relevant territorial directorate of the GIT Executive Agency by filling out special forms, published on the official website of the GIT Executive Agency.

EA “General Labor Inspectorate” carries out specialized control activities in connection with the employment of foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria, within which the control authorities have the right to visit all sites where work is carried out, as well as to require personal documents, including from foreigners

Reference: https://www.az.government.bg/pages/sezonna-zaetost-do-90-dni/

 

Employment of Ukrainians under the Asylum and Refugees Act in Bulgaria

Ukrainians who have applied for international protection and the proceedings have not been completed within three months of the application for reasons beyond their control, have the right to access the labor market and can exercise employment on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without a work permit, after declaring employment in the Employment Agency / EA / for a period until the end of the proceedings under the Asylum and Refugees Act / LAR /.

The declaration of employment is made by a local employer, employed under an employment contract within the meaning of the Labor Code, third-country nationals enjoying rights under Art 29, para 3 of the LAR.

І. Conditions for declaring employment.

The conditions and procedure for declaring employment of foreigners are defined in Chapter Two “Labor Migration from Third Countries”, Section VIII “Declaration of Employment of Third-Country Nationals” of the Rules for Implementation of the Law on Labor Migration and Labor Mobility / LTMTM /.

The declaration of employment is made in compliance with the following conditions:

  1. The third-country national has a valid residence permit issued by the bodies for administrative control of foreigners in connection with the existence of circumstances under Art. 29, para. 3 of the LAR;
  2. The foreigner has an employment contract concluded under the terms of Bulgarian law with a local employer for the duration of the permitted residence.

ІІ. Necessary documents and requirements to them.

The documents for declaring employment are specified in Art. 36, para. 2 of the Regulations for the application of ZTMTM. They are submitted by the employer to the Directorate “Labor Office” at the place of work.   

Necessary documents for employment declaration:

1. Declaration according to a sample – Appendix № 7 ;

The declaration is submitted in 2 copies in the original, with described attached documents, signature, and seal of the employer. On the back there is a list of foreigners, with names in Bulgarian and Latin, date of birth, № on the passport, position, and duration of employment / from …… .. to ……. /.

The beginning of employment is before the submission of the declaration by the employer. The duration of employment is in line with the period of validity of the residence document of the third-country national worker.

2. A copy of a fixed-term employment contract, certified by the employer, concluded under the terms of the Bulgarian law, for a position with an NCAP code, signed by the parties and compliant with the deadline for the residence permit of the third-country national worker.

3. Copy of a valid residence document of the third-country national worker.

4. Official note, issued by the State Agency for Refugees at the Council of Ministers, for the existence of circumstances under Art. 29, para. 3 of the LAR.

III. Procedural sequence 

1. Declaration of employment in the Labor Office Directorate:

The declaration of employment is made by the employer within 7 days from the beginning of employment and is confirmed by certification of the declaration with an incoming № of the Directorate “Labor Office”, and the importer is returned a certified copy.

In case the worker-citizen of a third country is issued a document for long-term residence with a new term of validity, the procedure is repeated until obtaining a permit for permanent residence of the foreigner on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.

2. Notification of the Executive Agency “General Labor Inspectorate” / EA GIT /:

Within 7 days from the actual commencement of work of foreigners, employers are required to notify the relevant territorial directorate of the IA GIT by filling out special forms, published on the official website of the IA GIT ( http: //www.gli.government. bg / page.php? c = 66 ).

EA “General Labor Inspectorate” carries out specialized control activities in connection with the employment of foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria, within which the control authorities have the right to visit all sites where work is carried out, as well as to require personal documents, including from foreigners residing and working there.

 

What type of special protection do the Bulgarian law on asylum and refugee offer to Ukrainians?

According to the Law on Asylum and Refugees, there are four types of special protection granted in the Republic of Bulgaria: asylum, refugee status, humanitarian status, and temporary protection. 

  1. Asylum is the protection, granted by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, to aliens persecuted for reasons of their convictions or activity in advocating internationally recognized rights and freedoms.
  2. Refugee Status in the Republic of Bulgaria is granted by the Chairman of the State Agency for Refugees to an alien who has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a specific social group, or political opinion and/or conviction.

  3. Humanitarian status is granted by the Chairman of the State Agency for Refugees to an alien forced to leave or to stay outside his country of origin or residence for reasons of threat to his life, security or freedom as a result of violence arising out of situations such as armed conflicts, or who faces a threat of torture or other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Humanitarian status may also be granted for other humanitarian reasons or on other grounds stipulated in the Bulgarian legislation, as well as on the grounds indicated in the Conclusions of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  4. Temporary protection is granted by the Council of Ministers for a specific period in the event of a mass influx of aliens who are forced to leave their country of origin or residence as a result of an armed conflict, civil war, foreign aggression, large-scale violations of human rights or violence in the territory of the relevant country or in a specific area thereof and who, for those reasons, cannot return there. 

The applications for asylum, refugee status, and humanitarian status are granted on the basis of an individual examination. As regards temporary protection, every member of the group is considered prima face as a refugee.

The aliens in the Republic of Bulgaria who have been granted asylum or refugee status have equal rights and obligations. A recognized refugee acquires the rights and obligations of a Bulgarian national with the exception of:

  1. the right to participate in general and municipal elections, in national and regional referenda, as well as to participate in the establishment of political parties and be a member of such parties;
  2. to hold positions for which Bulgarian nationality is required by law;
  3. to be a member of the armed forces;
  4. other restrictions explicitly laid down by law.

A recognized refugee has the right to request family reunification on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Permission for family reunification is granted by the Chairman of the State Agency for Refugees. Any alien with humanitarian status has the same rights and obligations as an alien holding a permanent residence permit in the Republic of Bulgaria.

A recognized refugee or an alien with humanitarian status have the right to an identity card and to a foreign travel certificate, which is issued under the conditions and procedure laid down in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Law on Bulgarian Identity Documents, and the Law on Asylum and Refugees.

Aliens with respect to whom temporary protection has been granted have the right:

  1. to reside in the country for the entire duration of the temporary protection;
  2. to an identity document; to social security contributions;
  3. to food, shelter, clothing, work, medical care, and services under the procedure and conditions set in the act whereby temporary protection is granted.

Ukrainians coming to Bulgaria as war refugees are falling under the category of temporary protection if they register officially with the Bulgarian authorities. Otherwise, they are technically speaking just temporary visitors under the 90 days no visa regime.

https://www.aref.government.bg/index.php/en/node/29

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