I. Summary Area - 110 994 sq. km Population - 7 974 000 Capital - Sofia Official language - Bulgarian Government type - Parliamentary republic Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, Jewish 0.1%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 4% Industries: Electricity, gas and water; food, beverages and tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel Exports: Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels Import: Fuels, minerals, and raw materials; machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; food, textiles National currency - Bulgarian lev (BGN) A rate of exchange BGN / € - 1.95 / 1
Live & Work in Bulgaria II. EURES network in Bulgaria 1. National structure of EURES in Bulgaria: 1 Manager; 2 EURES Advisers certificated in 2006; 4 EURES Advisers to be trained this year; 3 EURES Advisers will be trained in 2008; Till the end of 2007 we plan to train 28 EURES Assistants to provide EURES services in each large Local Labour Office. Bulgarian EURES advisers are specialized to deal with certain EU countries. 2. Typical tasks of EURES advisers in Bulgaria providing information to job seekers and employers about the European job market placement services informing other EU citizens about living & working conditions in Bulgaria making contacts with local labour market actors organizing job events drafting annual plans
Live & Work in Bulgaria III. Labour market in Bulgaria 1. Short revieu Republic of Bulgaria is devided into 6 economic regions /North- Western, North-Central, North-Eastern, South-Western and South- Eastern/ and 28 administrative districts. During February 2007 the average rate of registered unemployment was 9.48%. The regional unemployment rate varies within wide range but there is a lower rates tendency shown in several districts as: Sofia (2.08%), Bourgas (5.53%), Gabrovo (4.87%), Varna (7.225%), Blagoevgrad (7.84%) and Pernik (7.76%). Sofia, Burgas, Gabrovo and Varna districts have reached a rate of unemployment lower than the average for the EU-27 which is 7.9% in 2006. Districts with highes unemployment rates are: Turgovishte (20.56%), Montana (17.77%), Vidin (17.23%), Razgrad (16.32%) and Shoumen (17.22%). Pictures 1 and 2 illustrate the facts.
Live & Work in Bulgaria Unemployment rate in February 2007 by administrative districts Picture 1 Country average rate 9,48%
Live & Work in Bulgaria Unemployment rate by municipalityes - February 2007 Picture 2
Live & Work in Bulgaria 2. Labour market shortages During 2006 job vacances in the manufacture industry were the mostly opened, followed by trade and repairs of automobile and household appliances, education, agriculture branch, construction – house builders, casing workers, house-painters, carpenters, road constructors etc. In Bulgaria tourism is one of the most rapidly developing sectors. Yet we need workers in hotel and restaurant services - waiters, chefs and cooks, chambermaids. Recently the Bulgarian labour market suffers from a significant lack of highly-skilled professionals in the engineering and technical field - engineers, IT specialists, information and communication technology specialists, technicians. We also suffer shortage of welders, electricians, experts in labour safety, nurses and professionals speaking foreign languages.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 3. Labour market surpluses In 2006 the biggest share of unemployed were people with qualification in the field of engineering and technology, followed by people specialized in field of economics, law, social sciences, agriculture, education and humanities and art. A little bit less are specialists in services, transportation, security and life guard, health care and exact sciences.
Live & Work in Bulgaria IV. Finding job in Bulgaria 1. How to find work Bulgaria has fully opened its labour market for all the EU/EEA citizens. They may register in the Local Labour Office Directorates in Bulgaria where they will be provided with job matching services. One may check for vacancies on the NEA web site www.az.government.bg. www.az.government.bg Other possibility is to look for a job through the newspapers /there are advertisements every day/, through Internet – www.job.com, http://jobs.gbg.bg, www.jobtiger.bg or by personal contacts. www.job.com http://jobs.gbg.bgwww.jobtiger.bgwww.job.com http://jobs.gbg.bgwww.jobtiger.bg 2. How to apply for work When applying for a job one should prepare a CV – in most cases the standart European template is used. Often a motivation letter is enclosed. Other documents needed: diplomas /translated into Bulgarian/, documents proving vocational training /if any/, documents proving length of service, Medical sertificate, Police report /wheter the candidate has been charged with some kind of crime or has been given a sentence/.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 3. Kinds of employment The oficial minimum age for starting work in Bulgaria is 16 years. As an exception people aged 15 and 16 may be hired with a special permission from The Labour Inspection Office. Employees in Bulgaria can be hired for a limited period of time or for a permanent work, for a full time /in the most cases/ or for a part time work. The full time working day is 8 hours per a day. Usually the employers prefer to first hire workers with a contract with a probation period /the probation period may not be longer than 6 months/. No matter for what perion the worker is hired, a labour contract is obligatory. The contract should be concluded before the worker starts work. Within a 3-day period the employer is obliged to send a Notification for each contract to the National Revenue Agency /NRA/. The worker should be provided with copies of the contract and of the NRA Notification. If an employee wants to leave he/she may terminate a contract of employment by giving the employer a notice in writing. The notice period for terminating a contract /either by the employee or the employer/ is 30 days.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 4. Minimum and average salary At present the guaranteed minimum salary per month in Bulgaria Is 180 lv (about 95 Euro). The average salary is 397 lv per month (about 200 Euro). Tis is the main reason that motivates Bulgarians to look for a job out of our country. 5. Annual leave Any worker has the right for a paid annual leave. The duration of the basic paid annual leave is no less than 20 work days /if the worker has completed 6 months length of service/. Bulgarian employees didn’t work on the official public holidays which are: January 1 – New Year, March 3 – National day, May 1 – the day of labour, May 6 – St. George day /the day of bravery and Bulgarian armed forces/, May 24 – the day of the Bulgarian education and creating of the Bulgarian and slavic alphabet, September 6 - Unification day, September 22 – Independence day, December 24 – Christmas Eve, December 24 and 25 – Christmas, Easter. The workers should use their annual leave in the year it belongs. They may delay it onli with a permission from the employer.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 6. Illness leave If illness occurs, the employer may use leave due to illness – in that case he/she should present to the employer a medical document. During the leave due to general sickness the worker receives daily cash benefit which is calculated as 80 per cent, and for temporary incapacity due to work injury and occupational sickness as 90 per cent of the average daily gross wage. The benefit for temporary incapacity due to general sickness, for temporary incapacity due to work injury and occupational sickness and for pregnancy and maternity are paid by the National Social Security Institute through a bank account, designated by the ensured person. Only for the first day of the incapacity the insurer /employer/ pays the employee the average daily gross wage for the month in which the incapacity has occurred.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 7. Maternity leave Female employees are entitled to pregnancy and childbirth leave of 315 days for each child. 45 days of these leave are used obligatory before giving birth. During this leave the mother receives a cash benefit that is 90% of her average daily remuneration. After the leave for pregnancy and childbirth /or adoption/, the mother is entitled an additional paid leave for rising first, second and third child until the children reach an age of 2 years. The additional leave for each subsequent child is 6 months. The right for this additional leave may be transferred to the father or to one of the parents who work under labour contract. For this 2-yaers paid leave the beneficier receives a cash compensation. After having used the the 2-year paid leave any of the parents, if they work under a labour contract, have the right to use an unpaid leave up to 6 months for taking care of a child before he/she reaches the age of 8 years. This leave is recognized as length of service.
Live & Work in Bulgaria V. Living conditions 1. Entering Bulgaria/Residence Permit EU/EEA citizens may enter Bulgaria and reside here up to 3 months only with their ID card/passport. After the 3-month period of residing the EU/EEA citizens may receive a long-term Residence Permit up to 5 years if they start work in the country or are self-employed, or are enrolled in an education course /incl. vocational training/. After expiry of the 5-year period the EU/EEA citizens may acquire a permanent Residence permit. The residence permits are issued by the National Police Service – www.mfa.government.bg /the site of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior/. www.mfa.government.bg
Live & Work in Bulgaria 2. Finding accommodation In Bulgaria one can freely bye or rent a flat/house. When renting, usually a contract between the tenant and the landlord is concluded. Information both for hiring and buying a flat/house can be found in the national daily newspapers. When buying a flat/house the needed documents include both buyer and the seller’s ID cards as well as documents proving the owner of the housing. One may search for housing through Real Estate Agencies but this way is usually more expensive. The costs considerably vary depending on the city, the location of the housing, its state /old - new, furnished - part- furnished etc/. Country average house market price – 846.5 lv /sq.m 3. Cost of living The prices of the food products and beverage in Bulgaria are still lower than in the rest of the European countries which makes the country a comfortable place to live in. The shops which sell food are opened from 7.30 a.m till 8.00 p.m 6 days in week. On Sunday they usually close earlier – at about 4.00 or 5.00p.m In the bigger cities there are big stores where any kinds of products can be found.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 4. Child care and Education There are kindergartens everywhere in Bulgaria /even in the small villages, with a very few exceptions/. The children are allowed in the kindergartens when they have reached the age of 3 years. Anyway there are also crèches where cares for babies are provided. There is also an alternative for hiring a private babycare but it is available mainly in the bigger towns and in the cities.
Live & Work in Bulgaria In Bulgaria the education is obligatory for children who have completed 7 years /or if the parents decide – 6 years/ till they reach 16 years. The state school education is free for Bulgarian citizens, for foreign citizens who have acquired permanent residence in Bulgaria or for whom this issue is set by a bilateral agreement, and for children up to 16 years who reside in the country with their parents – EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens who work in Bulgaria. For these children a free training in Bulgarian language is provided as well as a training in co-operation with their country of origin There are language schools in the biggest cities /German, English – these are the most widespread language schools, there are also Spanish, French, Russian schools/. In almost every big town there is a school where there are classes only for a particular language.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 5. Health system Health care in Bulgaria is conducted by the Ministry of health – www.mh.government.bg. The expenditure of the health insurance contributions is governed by the National Health Insurance Fund - www.nhif.bg. Insured people have the right to profit the services provided by medical professionals and by medical institutions that have sighed contracts with the National Health Insurance Fund. www.mh.government.bg www.nhif.bg www.mh.government.bg www.nhif.bg Every insured person should choose a personal medical specialist - GP. If the personal doctor is not competent about the particular illness, he sends the patient to a specialist. Thease visits are free of charge – only a visit tax is paid and it’s 1% of the minimum salary. For each day spent by an insured patient in a hospital a bed tax is paid and it’s 2% of the minimal salary. In Bulgaria there are a big number of private hospitals and specialized medical offices that have not signed contracts with the National Health Insurance Fund. The health care they provide is paid by the patient, no matter if he is insured or not.
Live & Work in Bulgaria VI. Taxation and social insurance 1. Taxation According to the Personal Income Tax Act a subject for taxation in Bulgaria are domestic individuals /that means persons whose permanent address is in Republic of Bulgaria, or persons who reside in Republic of Bulgaria more than 183 days in each 12 months, or persons for whom Bulgaria is their vital interests place/ and foreign individuals /all the other persons not included in the list of the domestic individuals/. Domestic individuals are taxable on income earned from sources in Bulgaria and from foreign countries. Foreign individuals are taxable on income earned from sources in Bulgaria. Wages for labour performed on the territory of Bulgaria are taxable as a source from Bulgaria.
Live & Work in Bulgaria During 2007 tax bases on which taxes are due are defined as follows: an income up to 2 400 lv. per a year is non taxable; an income up to 2 400 lv. per a year is non taxable; on an income from 2 400 to 3 000 lv. per a year the tax is 20%; on an income from 2 400 to 3 000 lv. per a year the tax is 20%; on an income from 3 000 to 7 200 lv. per a year the tax is 120 lv. plus 22% on amount over 3000lv. on an income from 3 000 to 7 200 lv. per a year the tax is 120 lv. plus 22% on amount over 3000lv. on an income that exceeds 7 200 lv. per a year the owed tax is 1 044 lv. plus 24% on the amount over 7 200 lv. on an income that exceeds 7 200 lv. per a year the owed tax is 1 044 lv. plus 24% on the amount over 7 200 lv. The annual tax base is formed as a sum of the monthly tax bases. The tax on the income from salary payment is monthly deducted and paid in the National Revenue Agency /NRA/ by the employer. If the salary is the only source of an employee’s income, there is no need a tax declaration to be filled. If there are other sources of income, a tax declaration should be filled and rendered to the NRA. Families who raise children under age of 18 can profit from annual tax concessions. They have to fill in a tax declaration and the annual tax base is reduced as follows: for a single child under age – with 420 lv.; for a single child under age – with 420 lv.; for two children under age – with 840 lv.; for two children under age – with 840 lv.; For three and more children under age – with 1 260 lv. For three and more children under age – with 1 260 lv.
Live & Work in Bulgaria 2. Social insurance According to the Bulgarian legislation insurance contributions are allocated in: the Pensions fund – 23% for persons born before 1960 and 19% for persons born after 1960; the General sickness and maternity fund – 3.5%; the Work injury and occupational sickness fund – between 0.4 – 1.1% /paid only at the expense of the employer/; the Unemployment fund – 3%. the Obligatory additional pension insurance /only for persons born after 1960/ - 4%; the Health insurance– 6%.
Live & Work in Bulgaria The amount for which contributions are owed includes all kinds of remuneration and income from labor. The ratio between the employer’s and employee’s social insurance rates is 65% to 35 % /this is the ratio for 2007 – in the Social Insurance Code it is written that it is changing in the fallowing years/ plus the Work injury and occupational sickness fund at the expense of the employer. Public social insurance shall provide benefits, assistance and pensions in the following cases: temporary incapacity; temporarily reduced working capacity; disability; maternity; unemployment; old age; death.
Live & Work in Bulgaria The following groups of persons are obliged to be insured for all social insurance risks: workers and employees hired for more than five working days, or 40 hours, in one calendar month, government employees; judges, prosecutors, investigators, bailiffs, recordation judges and court employees; regular duty military staff; individuals employed as cooperative members compensated for their labor; individuals working under a second or additional labor contract; individuals working under contracts for management and control of commercial companies.
Live & Work in Bulgaria The following groups of persons are obliged to be insured for disability due to general sickness, for old age and death: individuals registered as freelance professionals and/or craftsmen; individuals performing economic activity as sole traders, owners of, or partners in, commercial companies; Ph.D. students if they do not have pension insurance on other premises; Registered agricultural/tobacco producers. Social insurance commences on the day the person starts the performance of labor activity and continues until its termination. For civil servants all social contributions are paid by the state. This information is part of the much detailed data about Bulgaria that is going to be published soon at the Eures Info Portal and probably will endure some changes.