Find, in this article, an overview of the Bulgarian labor market and tips to help you find a job if you intend to work there.
Located in South-east Europe, Bulgaria is a key destination when it comes to expatriation. In fact, the country attracts foreigners in large numbers, thanks to its propitious economy, as well as numerous professional opportunities it offers and its low unemployment rate. Many fields require foreign expertise which is not available locally. Hence, qualified foreign professionals yearn to be hired in one of its major cities.
But before proceeding, you are advised to inquire on its labor market's requirement, on working conditions, as well as on any permits required to be allowed to work there. Following its membership to the European Union in 2007, European nationals are not required to obtain a work permit.
Good to know:
Compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Bulgaria is relatively low, just like the minimum wage which is fixed at 340 leva per month, that is some € 174.
European Union, European and Economic Zone and Swiss nationals are exempt from the work permit requirement. They simply have to register as a job-seeker with the nearest Labor Office to their place of residence. Documents to be produced are their identity card or passport, proof of accommodation and their resident permit. Foreign nationals having kinship ties with Swiss or European nationals must also produce their birth certificate and a translation of their marriage certificate if it applies.
Foreigners coming from other countries, for their part, will be allowed to work in Bulgaria only after receiving a work permit that has been issued by the National Employment Agency. This permit, with a single year validity period, grants you the right to work only for the indicated company. In the case of managers and other high officials, they can request for a three years renewal.
Good to know:
Work permits are issued to foreigners provided they have specific skills which are required in Bulgaria, they are self-entrepreneurs or they have been transferred by their employer. As regards those who have been hired by a local company, related procedures are the employer's responsibility.
Finally, foreigners holding a permanent resident permit in Bulgaria and those who have been granted asylum are exempt from the work permit requirement.
Unless you have been transferred to Bulgaria by your company, you are more likely to start your job search on the Internet. Indeed, you can browse job offers on multiple general and specialized job websites, as well as on professional social networks. You can also inquire about any vacancies and on the labor market's requirement and trends on expatriate forums.
Networking and word-of-mouth may also help if you have friends and contacts in the country. In fact, more than a half of the Bulgarian residents have been hired through this method.
Expat.com – Jobs in Bulgaria
Expat.com – Recruitment Agencies in Bulgaria
Job Tiger www.jobtiger.bg
EURES - Job offers in Bulgaria ec.europa.eu
Manpower Bulgaria candidate.manpower.com
Linked In www.linkedin.com
Careers in Bulgaria www.careersinbulgaria.eu
In Bulgaria, you are allowed to work as from 16 years provided you have obtained a work permit from the Labor Inspectorate.
A full-time job consists of a 40-hours working week, that is 8 hours a day over 5 days. You will be eligible to a yearly 20 days paid leave. Note that part-time jobs are less widespread in the country.
Once you have been hired, you will receive a book in which you will detail your professional experience, details of the jobs you have occupied and the number of years, etc. This document is to be submitted to your employer who will keep it during your contract and give it back to you once it comes to an end.
There are two types of employment contracts in Bulgaria: the temporary contract and the permanent contract. Note that contracts, regardless of their nature, must be made official in writing as oral agreements are obsolete in case of dispute.
The temporary employment contract has no minimum term, but a maximum of three years term. It may be concluded in one of the following cases:
- a seasonal or short-term job (less than three years)
- a particular task to be performed permanently
- replacing an employee who is on sick leave or on maternity leave
- replacing an employee who is away for the purpose of an examination or contest
- for a mandate.
In case of dismissal before the end of the contract, your employer has to give you a three months notice. If you remain at work within 5 days following the temporary contract's expiry date without a written objection issued by your employer, it will be considered as a continuous contract.
The permanent contract, for its part, starts with a six months trial period, including the terms of the contract. In case of dismissal, your employer has to give you a one month's notice. However, this period can be shortened according to a written agreement between both parties.
In Bulgaria, social health insurance contributions are the employer's and the employee’s responsibility. As regards auto-entrepreneurs, this responsibility is shared between them and the State. Four areas are covered by the Bulgarian Social Security System: sick leave and maternity leave, retirement, accidents and occupational diseases, and unemployment. Social security in Bulgaria also includes a health insurance program and a pension insurance. Contributions made to the various programs are then divided between the employer and the employee at a rate which is determined every year by Parliament and announced in the Social Insurance Code. Accidents and illnesses are themselves the employer's responsibility. The mandatory health insurance, for its part, is funded by both parties equally, that of the employee being deducted from his monthly salary.
Auto-entrepreneurs only pay their social contributions by bank transfer to the tax office, bank or post office. An online payment system, ePay also exists. The Bulgarian State contributes 12% of the amount received during the year to the pension fund.
For European and Swiss citizens, Social Security schemes are transferable from their home country to Bulgaria. Refund application forms are usually available on your home country's social security website.
In all cases, you have to enroll for Social Security at the nearest National Tax Agency office to your home address if you are a self-entrepreneur or to your company's address if you are an employee.
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Bulgaria www.mlsp.government.bg