The right to employment
Beneficiaries of international protection have the same employment rights as Bulgarian nationals.
Asylum seekers have the right to work 3 months after the filing of their application for protection, as stipulated in Art. 29 (3) Law on Asylum and Refugees. Applicants are issued an official notice for their right to work by the State Agency for Refugees.
Access to the labor market
With a view to facilitating the access to the labor market, beneficiaries of international protection have the right to register with the Employment Bureau Directoratewith jurisdiction over their residence address on the grounds of Art. 18 (3) Employment Promotion Act. The rights under this chapter may be exercised by:
- persons who have been granted asylum
- persons who have been granted refugee or humanitarian status
The registration with the Employment Bureau Directorate is done in person on the basis of:
- an identity document (an id card of a refugee or of humanitarian status holder or a card of a person granted asylum)
- a document certifying address registration for the current address (in cases when the registration with EBD is done with an address other than the one indicated on the identity document)
- an application drawn up according to the model approved by the Executive Director of the Employment Agency.
Beneficiaries of international protection have equal access and enjoy all the employment and training rights laid down in the Employment Promotion Act; any direct or indirect discrimination, privileges or restrictions for reasons of nationality, origin, gender, race, etc. are prohibited in the process of employment mediation.
Following the registration with the Employment Bureau Directorate, job-seekers are entitled to use:
- information about advertised job vacancies
- information about programs and measures for maintaining and promoting employment
- mediation for information provision and employment
- psychological counseling
- professional orientation
- inclusion in adult training
- motivation for active behavior on the market and participation in employment and training programs and measures
- scholarships for training, financial support for transportation and accommodation over the training period (Art. 17 of the Employment Promotion Act)
Registration with the Employment Bureau Directorate is a precondition for applying for unemployment benefits, social assistance and services.
The services provided by the Employment Agency and its territorial units are free-of-charge, and are provided in the official language of the state – Bulgarian.
Validation of professional qualifications
The validation of professional qualifications of beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status is carried out under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals laid down in Ordinance No 2 from 13 November 2014 on the Validation of Professional Knowledge, Skills and Competences.
According to the Ordinance, validation aims to verify that the professional knowledge, skills and competences acquired through non-formal learning or self-study correspond to the state educational requirements for acquiring professional qualification and recognizing an acquired a full or partial degree of professional qualification.
The purpose of validating professional knowledge, skills and competences is to facilitate the access to training for the acquisition of a professional qualification and to the labor market.
The validation shall be carried out by professions and specialties included in the List of Professions for Vocational Education and Training under Art. 6 of the Vocational Education and Training Act.
According to Art. 5. (1) of the Ordinance the institutions authorized to carry out validation are: schools for vocational education, secondary schools for vocational education, art schools. sports schools, professional colleges and vocational training centers. The classification of professions in professional fields and by degree of professional qualification are regulated in Art. 8 of the Vocational Education and Training Act. The degrees of professional qualification acquired under this law are first, second, third and fourth. Article 8 (3) specifies the requirements for the corresponding degree of professional qualification. The minimum educational and/or qualification entry level for the acquisition of the respective degrees of professional qualification or partial professional qualification are defined in art.8 (4). Article 8 (6) defines the outgoing educational level for acquiring the respective degrees of professional qualification for pupils. The exit educational level for acquiring a level of professional qualification or partial professional qualification for people over 16 years of age, who have undergone vocational training, is the same as the minimum entry educational level for the respective degree according to art.8 (7).
Recognition of professional qualifications
Recognition of professional qualifications is recognition of the right to practise a particular profession and is regulated by the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Act. The law applies to nationals of EU Member States and third countries who have acquired professional qualifications in other Member States and in third countries and who wish to pursue a regulated profession in the Republic of Bulgaria as self-employed or employed individuals.
Recognition is only required for regulated professions. In the Republic of Bulgaria they are defined in the List of Regulated Professions, which is adopted by a decision of the Council of Ministers. The law does not apply to third-country nationals who have acquired professional qualifications in regulated medical professions in third countries.
More information on the recognition of professional qualifications and regulated professions can be obtained from the National Information and Documentation Centre.
Subsidized Employment and Vocational Training
In conformity with the Employment Promotion Act beneficiaries of international protection have equal access and opportunities to participate in all the employment and training programs and incentives implemented by the Employment Agency which are appropriate for them.
Persons who were granted refugee or humanitarian status during the current year may enroll in the Program for the Employment and Training of Refugees implemented by the Employment Agency.
The programme provides for 118 subsidized work position, 60 are new and 58 by contract from 2017.
The mandatory conditions for participation in the program are to have been granted refugee status or humanitarian status in 2016 or 2017 and to be registered at the Employment Bureau at a permanent address.
Information for employers
Employers willing to hire refugees should apply at the Labor Offices with the following documents:
- Statement of minimum and state aid
- Request a vacancy
For every unemployed person hired on a subsidized position, the employer will be provided with salaries for the amount of the minimum wage for the country as well as contributions due on behalf of the employer for the Pension Funds, the OIOD and the GIM funds, SMPI and NHIF and the Unemployment Fund. Funding is provided for up to 12 months.
Beneficiaries of international protection have the right to receive a pension under the terms and following the procedure for Bulgarian nationals upon the completion of a certain age and years of contribution.
Beneficiaries of refugee or humanitarian status have the right to receive pensions that are not related to labor activity, such as social old-age pension and social disability pension.