This article aims to briefly illustrate the procedure for issuing a residence permit for the purpose of exercising a highly qualified activity type “EU Blue Card” for foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria.
With the help of the team of Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co. the first Blue Card was obtained by a foreigner after the procedural changes in the Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria came into force on 01.06.2021. We have extensive experience in the whole process of issuing a Blue Card, from the application to the final issuance of the permit.
The granting of the permit is based on several fundamental prerequisites that the applicant must fulfil.
- Firstly, the person must have the necessary qualification. This must be attested by an appropriate document (e.g. a diploma) and it is important to take account of certain specific requirements concerning the training for the qualification in question.
- The person must receive a gross salary of at least 1.5 times the average salary in Bulgaria. This can be certified by means of the employment contract, which is a mandatory part of the application.
- The duration of the employment contract with which the foreigner is employed may not be shorter than 12 months, which also determines the minimum period for which a Blue Card is issued.
In addition to the above, the applicant is also required to provide a wide range of other documents, which vary depending on whether an initial permit or a reissuance is requested. The set of additional appendixes includes, but is not limited to:
- Proof of secured accommodation. This can be of any nature — either a person’s own accommodation or a rented accommodation.
- Justification of the request for a Blue Card. It is extremely important that the employer provides a detailed and reasoned justification for his decision to hire a foreign employee instead of a Bulgarian national for the same position.
- In the case of a profession included in the List of Regulated Professions in the Republic of Bulgaria, it must be certified that the conditions for its exercise are met.
- Medical insurance. The key point here is the coordination of the duration of the medical insurance with the duration for which the Blue Card permit is requested. Complications could arise on the part of the insurer in view of regulatory restrictions on insurance contracts with foreigners.
Once all the necessary documents have been successfully obtained and the application has been submitted, the procedure is continued by the public authorities. Prior to the final decision by the Migration Directorate, the procedure goes through the State Agency for National Security, the Employment Agency, the NRA (with regard to certain official enquiries made for the company-employer).
The key to the successful issuance of a Blue Card is the constant readiness to communicate with the state authorities. In case of a mismatch or lack of a required document, the deadlines for “remediation” of the deficiency are extremely short. Therefore, the prompt reaction of the applicant, whether employer or representative, and the timely exchange of information with the authorities involved in the procedure play a decisive role.