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Expat`s Working in Bulgaria

Thousands of expats are forced to return to their home countries every year.

The reason for this is usually due to the difficulty in finding employment abroad and therefore leading to financial difficulties. Finding work abroad proves a challenging task for many reasons, for example,the countries law on employing foreigners, a language barrier, high rate of unemployment and other reasons. It is crucial to know about the countries policy on employing foreigners before you take the plunge and relocate.

The current global economic crisis has hit Bulgaria just as hard as it has other countries. This unfortunately means that businesses are failing and the unemployment rate rises.

Unlike other European countries, not all expats can apply for some job positions in Bulgaria. Firstly, there is one law that states that a Bulgarian firm can have no more than 10% of foreign employees working for them at any one time. The second law related to this states that an employer must be able to prove that a foreign employee is needed for the position and that a Bulgarian citizen is unsuitable for the job.

The current rate of unemployment is high at around 12%. When jobs become available, they are most likely given to Bulgarian citizens over foreigners, unless there is a special reason and a foreigner is more suited to the job. As a result of these obstacles, many of the expats living in Bulgaria choose to set up their own business. Many choose to create a computer based business and work at home, where as others open their own business to the general public.

There is a huge demand for native English speakers to work in various companies in Bulgaria. The most popular being English teaching,or E.S.L   (English as a second language). English is one of the most popular spoken second languages in Bulgaria and therefore ESL teachers are in great demand.
Sometimes a suitable qualification is needed and other employers are satisfied purely on the fact that English is your native language, which is often enough to win the position. Job vacancies can be found in public schools, private schools, language schools, in computer businesses and in other various clubs and groups. Working as an ESL teacher in Bulgaria can vary in what is required from the employee. Some firms are looking for a native speaker to run conversational lessons, which is just a matter of speaking and listening practice. However, some firms require English speaking teachers, which involves teaching grammar and vocabulary.

For both Bulgarians and foreigners, knowledge of the English language is needed for working in bigger cities, especially in Sofia and on the coast where there are many English speaking tourists. Jobs in bars and restaurants are often given to foreigners who understand both Bulgarian and English.  Seasonal work can often be found on the Black Sea Coast due to the amount of English speaking tourists there,this can include,  work in bars, restaurants, gift shops, travel companies and other tourism firms who operate there.

Before Bulgaria joined the E.U., it was common for English speaking expats to find employment at the British Embassy, located in the capital city, Sofia. Employment can still be found in the embassy, but the applicant must be qualified for the job and with a sufficient knowledge of the Bulgarian language.

Bulgaria’s wealthiest work sectors are the oil industry, tourism, IT, Law, construction, translation and teaching (privately). Recommended and popular jobs for expats living in Bulgaria include: translation work, IT, construction and teaching work. Expats working in these departments either set up their own firm or work for an employer.

If you decide to set up your own business, you must make sure that you have a limited company, residency permit and other required documents that may vary depending on the type of business you are starting.

Working for a Bulgarian firm, means that the employee must have a residency permit and work permit, which is usually in the form of a litchna number. Conditions and laws may vary for those applying for temporary positions, such as those on working holidays. In such cases, a residency card is not needed. Anyone planning to stay in Bulgaria for longer than 90 days, must apply for a residency permit, which can be obtained from the local police station`s Immigration Office. An employer will often apply for the work permit/litchna number on your behalf at the local council office. You may then have to fill in a form either in English but  usually in Bulgarian, about your basic personal details. You are then issued with a litchna number, which allows you to pay taxes and is a proof of identity. Having a litchna number allows you to work in Bulgaria.