Labour migration and labour mobility laws changes enter into force as from end of May 2018. The new rules are grounded by the fact that as from the same time Bulgaria should establish the requirements of Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the conditions of 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
(The Directive). Through the Directive the legislative framework of the European Union governing the rights and the obligations of researchers, students, pupils, volunteers, remunerated and unpaid trainees and workers as “au pairs” within the European Union shall be reformed.
The purpose of the Directive is to increase the attractiveness of the European Union as a work location in the field of research, education or for other cultural and social exchange programs.
The new Law, amending and supplementing the LLMLM introduces new legal definitions concerning the scientific and educational spheres.
Section 4 “Employment of researchers, students and residents”, chapter 2 of the LLMLM is amended and supplemented as follows:
- Amendmends regarding the employment without work permit of researchers, including academic work within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, including the conditions for mobility within the European Union at the end of their research period. This also concerns the employment of their family members as well as the mobility and employment of students.
- The conditions for access to the labour market without explicit permission for work and for residents in accordance with the conditions of an employment contract for traineeship.
- A new article is inserted (Article 39a) which expressly indicates cases that do not fall within the scope of Section 4.
In chapter 3 “Equal treatment” of the LLMLM establishes equal treatment conditions for researchers, students, residents, pupils, volunteers and the family members of Bulgarian, European and foreign nationals, including those who has received asylum or international protection, for which is given definition. The equal treatment of foreign nationals, admitted for international contracts for employment and labour migration is set forth, as well as the cases of registration of the short-term employment.
Chapter “Labour mobility” in the European Union is related to the provisions of the new Regulation (EU) № 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2016 with regard to the European Network of the Employment Services (EURES), the access of workers to public services in order to further labour market integration.
In the light of the above the amendments and supplements in chapter 3 in the Law on Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria which stipulates the conditions for those categories foreigner’s residence in the Republic of Bulgaria are imperative and significant.
In particular amendments are in place in relation to the requirements for researchers and students/residents. The possibility of mobility within the European Union of the researchers, their family members and students is governed and there is a definition for “Union programme or multilateral programme” providing for education in more than one Member State”. The conditions for issuing a residence permit to nationals of third countries as a volunteers are also set out. The questions related to the commitments of the employer or the host organization on the return of workers from third countries are regulated.
The recent amendments and supplements increase the permissible quota of foreign workers which one company could hire significantly. So far 10 percent of the workers could be hired from non-European Union countries but with the new amendments this percentage will increase to 20 percent and for the small and medium-prized enterprises is up to 35 percent.
The market test for the acquisition of the European Union Blue Card drop out. This test provided for a job ad publication for the particular position directed to Bulgarians prior third country nationals to be recruited. The amendments improve the opportunities for equal treatment of highly qualified experts, seasonal workers, seconded or consigned citizens from third country and their family members and the opportunities for mobility within the European Union.
However, the full compliance of the Bulgarian legislation with the Directive will be achieved after the changes above are reflected in the respective sub-legislative acts on application of both LLMLM and the Law on Foreign Nationals in the Republic of Bulgaria.