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BULGARIA – Amendments to the Labour Mobility Law

, 12/04/2018

Effective 23 May 2017, Bulgaria has passed amendments to the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act which relax the requirements for issuance of EU Blue Cards for non-EU nationals, increase the allowed ratio of foreign national to Bulgarian national employees and transpose into Bulgarian law EU Directive 2016/801 “on the entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing”.

EU Blue Card

Employers of Blue Card applicants will no longer be required to conduct labour market research by advertising jobs for 15 days in a local newspaper or online. The previous exemption from this requirement for highly-skilled professionals in certain (mostly information technology-related) professions will be extended to all Blue Card applicants.


Employers will be allowed to hire up to 20% of their workforce (up to 35% for small and mid-sized enterprises) from abroad. Currently, only up to 10% of an employer’s workforce can be work permit holders. Blue Card and ICT Permit holders and work permit-exempt senior personnel are not subject to this ratio.

Directive 2016/801

The purpose of Directive 2016/801 is to attract more highly-skilled professionals to the EU in the field of research and education. To implement this Directive, Bulgaria will allow third-country students, researchers and their families resident in another EU member state to notify the Bulgarian Employment Agency when working or studying in Bulgaria for short periods, rather than require them to obtain a visa. Moreover, researchers and students registered with the Bulgarian Employment Agency will also be able to remain in Bulgaria and look for a job for up to nine months after the completion of their studies or research.

Action Items

Employers in Bulgaria who may benefit from these changes should consult an immigration specialist for further advice.