I. RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE MAYOR OF THE MUNICIPALITY
- Reception and housing of a foreigner and his/her family members.
According to the Ordinance, the housing of a foreigner can be carried out both in municipal property and in dwellings that are state or private property.
- When natural persons or legal entities are accommodated in municipal or private property, the municipality prepares a model application form on behalf of an interested landlord, a public register of the applications submitted, a procedure for their examination and informing the applicant of the outcome as well as the rules and conditions of the rental contract. This order should be communicated in advance and in an appropriate manner to the public.
- When providing public housing, the municipality could enter into correspondence with the regional governor to establish the possibilities and conditions for accommodation in a state-owned dwelling.
- The placement in a municipal property is carried out in compliance with the rules and conditions of the Municipal Property Act and the Ordinance of the Municipal Council under Art. 45a, Para. 1 of the Municipal Property Act. If necessary, the mayor of the municipality shall submit a proposal for updating the list of municipal dwellings. If in the ordinance there is a requirement for Bulgarian citizenship of the applicant and/or requirement for a certain period of continuous residence on the territory of the municipality where the dwelling is located, a draft amendment to the ordinance should be submitted to the municipal council with a proposal for the abolition of similar provisions due to contradiction with the Law on Asylum and Refugees.
The possibility for a foreigner to be accommodated as part of a social service provided by the municipality or an outsourced provider shall also be considered.
- Provision of material or financial assistance to meet the basic household needs of the foreigner and his/her family members according to the individual integration plan.
- Assistance to the foreigner and his/her family members for:
- Entry in the population register
- Filing an application for the issuance of Bulgarian personal documents
The registration of the population as an administrative service shall be carried out according to the rules and conditions for Bulgarian nationals. Documents shall be submitted to the bodies of the Ministry of the Interior in compliance with the Law on Bulgarian Personal Documents.
- Choosing a GP
The obligation is related to informing general practitioners on the territory of the municipality, showing the way to the doctor’s office for consultation with the necessary documents, assistance in their preparation and registration. It also involves notifying the relevant inspection and health insurance fund for the concluded integration agreements and the need to transfer the health insurance from the PNF to the person’s PIN. If necessary, the State Agency for Refugees is asked to assist in transferring the data on the financial aid paid to date through the relevant territorial directorate of the National Revenue Agency.
- Registration with the Labour Office Directorate
Any beneficiary of humanitarian status who wishes to start work has the right to register as unemployed under the rules and conditions of the Employment Promotion Act. The obligation is to guide the person to the headquarters of the Labour Office Directorate for consultation on the necessary documents, assistance in their preparation and registration.
- Referral to the Social Assistance Directorate – if necessary
Registration as unemployed in the Labour Office Directorates and the job search are requirements for the individuals to apply for social assistance under the Social Assistance Act. The State Agency for Refugees issues a certificate to beneficiaries of humanitarian status who do not have the necessary documents certifying their entitlement to social assistance. According to the Regulation on the Application of the Social Assistance Act, beneficiaries of humanitarian status who are registered with the Labour Office Directorate within three months after being granted status can apply for monthly social assistance without the requirement for a 6 month expiry period since registration with the Labour Office Directorate prior to applying for social benefits. The requirement for community service by unemployed working-age individuals who receive monthly benefits under Art. 9 of the Social Assistance Act and are not included in the employment programs under Art. 12b of the same law, as well as the related penalties for refusal of community service, do not apply to beneficiaries of humanitarian status for the period of participation in programs and projects involving integration measures.
- Access to other administrative services
Providing access to administrative services consists in assisting a foreigner to apply for and use administrative services provided by the municipality – address registration and/or issuance of a certificate of permanent or current address, provision of technical services, etc.
- Provision and control of mandatory pre-school education for children and compulsory schooling for pupils up to the age of 16
Foreigners are assisted to enrol their children in a municipal kindergarten/school and to be informed about the adverse consequences in the case of school absence, i.e. fines under the Pre-school and School Education Act and termination of the agreement.
- Training in Bulgarian language according to the integration agreement and the individual integration plan of a foreigner
Children and students seeking or having received international protection in the country by the order of the Law on Asylum and Refugees, according to Ordinance No. 6 of 11.08.2016 on the acquisition of Bulgarian literary language (State Gazette No. 67 of 26.08.2016, in force since 01.09.2016) are provided with additional conditions for studying Bulgarian language within the framework of their education in a state or municipal school, which are part of the relevant state educational standard. The enrolment of individuals seeking and having received international protection in state and municipal schools is carried out under Ordinance № 3 of 06.04.2017 on the conditions and procedure for admission and training of individuals seeking and having received international protection (State Gazette, issue 32 of 21.04.2017, in force since 21.04.2017).
- Provision of monthly assistance for children enrolled in a preparatory group for compulsory pre-school preparation in an amount determined for Bulgarian children in the State Budget Act for the respective year.
- Provision of opportunities for practicing sports and sporting events
- Control on the implementation of the integration agreement
The obligation requires inspections initiated by the official appointed by the mayor of the municipality or by a signal of the person/institution providing/controlling the service of which the foreigner is a beneficiary. It is possible to establish a co-ordination mechanism (cooperation agreement) between the municipality and the territorial units of the respective state authorities for timely identification and mutual information on cases of non-compliance with the integration measures envisaged in the agreement by both the foreigner and the mayor of the municipality.
- Report on the implementation of the activities outlined in the Integration Agreement and individualized in the signed Integration Agreement and in the prepared individual integration plan.
The fulfilment of the obligation can be accomplished through periodic reports by the official on the progress in the implementation of the agreement, e.g. quarterly, six-month or more frequent, with specific suggestions to improve performance. The foreigner should also be given the opportunity to include suggestions in the report, which after evaluation will be implemented within the period of the agreement.
The Ordinance provides the possibility to appoint an official to be in charge of observing and monitoring the implementation of the integration agreement, given the varied character of the mayor’s duties. For this purpose, the designated official draws up a personal case of the foreigner, which facilitates the tracing and control of the implementation of the integration agreement. It is expedient for this person to use a language the foreigner understands. In cases where this is not possible, a mediator who is fluent in the foreign language may be hired to assist the official in the implementation of the agreement.
The Ordinance does not provide for expenditures regarding payment for mediators. Therefore for the purpose it is advisable to seek volunteers or other community members as well as the assistance of the State Agency for Refugees, NGOs and others.
II. OBLIGATIONS OF FOREIGNERS
In implementing the integration agreement, the foreigner undertakes to:
- carry out the obligations provided for the achievement of the objectives set out in the individual integration plan;
- notify the municipality about the occurrence of circumstances requiring a change of the individual integration plan;
- ensure the attendance of a municipal or state kindergarten, respectively of a school, by the minor members of his/her family;
- preserve the property that has been made available to him/her with the care of a good owner;
- accept an appropriate job offer and/or inclusion in adult employment and adult education programs and measures as well as in programs and projects with an integration focus.
A foreigner has the right file an objection to the municipality for partial or total non-performance of a certain activity of the integration agreement with the regional governor.
Upon his/her change of address a foreigner is entitled, on his/her own initiative, to conclude a new agreement with another municipality for a period no longer than the remaining time for the implementation of the first agreement.
Observance of the fulfilment of a foreigner’s obligations requires the introduction of an effective control mechanism.
III. PARTICIPATION OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY’S BODIES
The Deputy Prime Minister appointed by the Council of Ministers coordinates the process of implementation of the concluded integration agreements. In his activity he is assisted by the administration of the Council of Ministers.
The State Agency for Refugees with the Council of Ministers has the following obligations:
- to draw up an integration profile of a foreigner during the procedure for granting asylum and international protection;
- during the asylum and international protection procedure to provide information on the possibility of concluding an integration agreement;
- for the municipalities that have applied for an Integration Agreement to conduct information campaigns among the foreigners accommodated in its territorial units who have been granted asylum or international protection;
- during the asylum and international protection procedure to provide information materials in which the rights and obligations ensuing from the conclusion of an integration agreement are explained in an intelligible language for the foreigner;
- to provide information to the mayors of the municipalities included in the register under Art. 13 Para. 4 on foreigners who have applied for an integration agreement;
- to assist the transportation of a foreigner and his/her family members to the respective municipality.
Ministry of Education and Science
It determines the rules and conditions for admission and training of foreigners who seek or have been granted asylum or international protection for:
- Bulgarian language training of minors and underage persons;
- attending preparatory groups for compulsory pre-school education;
- attending school by minors and underage persons from the family of a foreigner with granted asylum or international protection.
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
Through the Agency for Social Assistance and under the conditions for Bulgarian nationals it provides access to:
- social services;
- social benefits;
- programs and measures for the protection of children.
Through the Employment Agency it provides:
- registration as jobseekers in the Labour Office directorates;
- mediation in informing and recruiting;
- inclusion in training and employment programs and measures.
Ministry of Healthcare
Through its regional health inspectorates it provides the foreigners who have concluded an agreement on integration with:
- information on the procedure for carrying out the compulsory immunizations and re-immunizations according to the Immunization Calendar of the Republic of Bulgaria and a plan for priority administering of the obligatory immunizations and re-immunizations in case of lack of data about such immunizations;
- the carrying out of the compulsory immunizations and re-immunizations under item 1 until the selection of a GP;
- information on the procedure for conducting preventive examinations and tests and the preparation of a plan for their implementation;
- information on his/her right of access to healthcare activities under national and regional health programs;
- information on the health requirements for admission to a kindergarten and an educational establishment;
- the carrying out of anti-epidemic measures if necessary.
Ministry of the Interior
It secures compliance with the law and order in accordance with its statutory powers.
For established administrative offenses and crimes committed by beneficiaries of asylum or international protection, the authorities of the Ministry of the Interior shall notify the mayor of the respective municipality.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports encourages and supports:
- sport organizations for the inclusion of beneficiaries of asylum or international protection in physical activity and sport exercising in order to maintain and improve their motor skills, healthy lifestyle and integration in the Bulgarian society;
- youth NGOs and organizations working with and for young people to carry out activities aimed at young people – beneficiaries of asylum or international protection aged 15-29.
The State Agency for Child Protection:
- provides methodological support to the child protection bodies as well as observes and controls the observance of the rights of the children – beneficiaries of asylum or international protection on the territory of the country;
- coordinates the work on the development of a mechanism for interaction between the responsible institutions in their work on cases of unaccompanied minor and underage beneficiaries of international protection.
State Agency for National Security
It identifies risks to the national security in the process of integration of beneficiaries of asylum or international protection and performs analytical and prognostic activities in accordance with their statutory powers.
IV. PARTNERS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
The Ordinance creates objective prerequisites for partnerships between municipalities, international and non-governmental organizations, nationally represented employers’ organizations and the National Craft Chamber for the implementation of the integration agreement. It is appropriate to conclude a cooperation agreement or other forms of interaction that would provide additional opportunities and benefits to the municipality from the integration of foreigners such as: opening additional courses for vocational or key competences training for the local population, introducing more flexible forms of employment in certain companies, creating opportunities to develop projects that would favour the socio-economic status of the local community, etc.
International and non-governmental organizations can assist local authorities and beneficiaries of asylum or international protection in implementing the integration agreement in accordance with their respective mandates and capacities through:
- sharing guidelines, handbooks, tools and best practices in the field of integration of beneficiaries of asylum or international protection;
- providing expert advice to the competent authorities and institutions;
- providing volunteers, mediators, psychologists, translators and other experts to assist beneficiaries of asylum or international protection and to help and guide them how to benefit from social services for the sake of their better integration;
- assisting in organizing information events and activities to promote the benefits of the integration of beneficiaries of asylum or international protection;
- encouraging beneficiaries of asylum or international protection to motivate and practise sports by:
- creating conditions for practising sports and engaging in sporting activities;
- creating opportunities for active sport, participation and competing.
- participation in project activities aimed at young people – beneficiaries of asylum or international protection, such as:
- voluntary initiatives and training to acquire knowledge, skills and competences for integration;
- the provision of services in the field of personal fulfilment and motivation for integration aimed at young people – foreigners aged 15-29, through existing financial mechanisms, i.e. national youth programs.
International and non-governmental organizations can partner with central and local authorities to implement the integration agreement.
Employers’ and employees’ organizations recognized as representative at a national level and the National Craft Chamber may assist local authorities and beneficiaries of asylum or international protection in implementing the integration agreement.
The nationally represented employers’ organizations and the National Chamber of Crafts can enter into partnership with local authorities to implement the integration agreement.
V. TERMINATION OF THE AGREEMENT
General grounds for termination – termination by either party
The Integration Agreement shall be terminated:
- with the death of a foreigner;
- by mutual agreement between the municipality and a foreigner;
- when a foreigner has been convicted by an enforceable sentence with which he/she has been imprisoned;
- upon withdrawal or termination of the international protection granted after an effective court decision;
- in the event of circumstances that lead to the impossibility to fulfil the activities envisaged in the agreement;
- in the case of non-performance of the activities under the agreement due to the fault of either the foreigner or the municipality.
In the cases under items 1, 3, 4 and 5 the agreement shall continue to be in force regarding the other members of a foreigner’s family.
Grounds for a unilateral termination by the mayor of the municipality upon culpable conduct of a foreigner
- systematic violation of public order;
- failure to fulfil the obligations under the agreement and the measures included in the individual integration plan;
- rejection of proposed appropriate job and/or inclusion in adult employment programs and measures.
In view of the assumed financial and other rights and obligations, the termination must be done by sending a written statement of intent to the other party.