As of June 20, Bulgarian companies, which are experiencing shortage of highly qualified and highly skilled workers, can hire citizens of countries outside the European Union.

Workers from outside the European Union can apply to work in Bulgaria under the EU Blue Card scheme, which allows workers with a job offer to take employment in a member state.

One of the requirements for a non-EU citizen to get a blue card is a higher education certificate. The applicants also have to have at least five years of experience in the job position they apply for.

The workers will be hired only if there are no suitable Bulgarian applications for the vacant position.

The document, which very much resembles an identity card, will be issued by the Interior Ministry after the applicant has obtained the approval of the Employment Agency.

The blue card scheme is expected to attract citizens of countries such as Ukraine, Serbia, Russia, Turkey, Croatia, and Moldavia to Bulgaria.

Once hired, the foreigner will have to work in Bulgaria at least one year after which he is entitled to move to another EU country. There however he can stay for no more than 3 years. When this period expires, he will be obliged to return to his home country for 18 months.

In Bulgaria the Blue Card will be issued for about two weeks. The document allows the holder to take his family too. It will not be given to asylum seekers and nationals of third countries operating in the EU as seasonal workers.

The EU Commission has given EU member states until 1 July to implement the blue card directive. Not every member state will take part in the program. For example the UK is one country that will not allow entry of people under the Blue Card scheme.

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