On 19.10.2022, a bill to amend and supplement the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act (LMMA) was submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and vote at first reading. It aims to create a clear and transparent admission system to ensure that highly skilled workers can be attached more effectively. The Blue Card should become the mail tool for this, including faster procedures, more flexible and inclusive admission criteria and broader rights, including facilitated short- and long-term mobility.
With the adoption of the bill the Bulgarian legislation will be in harmony with the step already taken at European Union (EU) level about facilitating access to the labour market for highly qualified professionals from non-EU countries.
The proposed amendments to the LMMA provide for:
- the possibility of remote working within the territory of the country is allowed if agreed between the employer and the foreign employee and control measures are also provided;
- the obstacles related to the posting of foreign employees with a Blue Card, both within Bulgaria and outside the country for a certain period of time, have been abolished;
- a holder of a Blue Card issues by another EU Member State can be posted and work in the territory of the country for a certain period of time;
- the procedure of changing the employer will also be different – after the first 12 months of highly qualified employment, the foreigner will be able to change his employer freely;
- the possibility for foreigner to work as a self-employed person during his highly qualified employment has been introduced.
Changes to the Foreigners in Bulgaria Act are also included (FBA):
- the conditions and procedure for entry into Bulgaria without a visa for the purpose of short-term or long-term mobility of an EU Blue Card holder issued by another Member State are regulated;
- a large part of the deadlines in the application procedure for the issuance of a residence and work permit type “Blue Card” is changed and the possibility of submitting the necessary documents electronically is introduced;
- persons who have been granted international protection will also be able to apply for a Blue Card;
- evidence of insured housing will be provided at the stage of applying for a Blue Card (the term “temporary address” is also included);
- a simplified procedure for changing employer during the first 12 months of highly skilled employment is introduced, which also provides appropriate control measures to avoid abuse;
- holders of a Blue Card issued by another Member State will be able to move to Bulgaria under simplified conditions;
- the figure of “acknowledged employer” is introduced, which allows such employers to benefit from simpler procedures for their employees to apply for and receive a Blue Card.
There will be changes in the Employment Promotion Act (EPA), Bulgarian Identity Documents Act (BIDA) and in the Health Insurance Act (HIA). The Bill for EPA provides the creation of a new Chapter 8 ”b”, which will establish a new procedure for the recognition of local employers in order to apply a simplified procedure for the issuance of a Blue Card for highly qualified foreigners employed by them. It details the conditions, criteria, documents required and the procedure for applying to become a recognized employer.
In BIDA the planned changes are minimal. They relate to reducing the administrative burden and unjustified costs for Blue Card holders and their employers when changing employers and being promoted.
After the changes in HIA the foreigners who have been given a Blue Card will be compulsorily health insured in Bulgaria.