Recruiting in Bulgaria, as in any overseas territory, is a significant commitment for international companies undertaking Global Expansion. Bulgaria is developing into an open, market-based upper-middle-income economy. It is moving away from traditional manufacturing and engineering into sectors such as IT, food production, energy, pharmaceuticals, real estate, chemicals, gas, and nuclear power, while further boosting its tourism market.

These areas reflect where the most significant demand for recruits exists, with employers searching for highly-skilled, multi-lingual and experienced staff with the go-ahead willingness to learn new skills to match these developing sectors. Membership of the European Union (EU) has further stimulated the employment market with free movement between its member nations, often leading mega-companies such as IBM to look for foreign recruits. This potential – and the challenges it brings – underlines why Bradford Jacobs’ global experience is indispensable for taking the smartest recruitment route into Bulgaria.

Bradford Jacobs’ benchmark platforms as a Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of Bulgaria’s challenging employment market complexities. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put the brightest talent in place for your company.

Recruiting in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s population of just under seven million showed a slight decline in the two years up to 2022, with a correspondingly small workforce of under five million. This poses challenges for companies recruiting in Bulgaria, although the effects are offset by free market access for workers from other European Union nations.

Recruitment is the first stage of making your company operational and competitive in Bulgaria. There are many complications in moving staff into the country and the complexities of obtaining work visas and permits. It is vital to know where to locate the finest candidates for your company’s expansion plans to avoid these issues.

Once recruited, companies must consider the implications of handling payroll for their staff and deal with the revenue and social insurance authorities. To undertake these tasks, foreign companies must establish a limited liability subsidiary, known as a drujestvo s ogranichena otgovornost (OOD). The requirements and procedures include the following:

  • Apply for the nine-digit Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Registry Agency, which administers the BULSTAT Register (Commercial Register), and obtain the Unified Identification Code (UIC), or BULSTAT Code, which identifies all business entities in Bulgaria.
  • Quote The BULSTAT UIC in all business documents and for interface with state authorities.
  • Compile incorporation documents for the Registry Agency after verifying a unique name for the company.
  • Provide notarized IDs for all founders of the subsidiary.
  • Register with the National Revenue Agency (NRA) to withhold and remit payroll taxes.
  • The NRA automatically registers the company for Value Added Tax as per the Tax Procedure Code and Value Added Tax Law to receive the VAT number, prefixed BG.
  • Open a bank account for depositing initial share capital, subsequently replaced by a business bank account.
  • Minimum share capital cannot be less than two Bulgarian leva (BGN), €1 or US$1.

Employees' Legal Checks in Bulgaria

Pre-hire checks are generally initiated by the employer asking the candidate to supply a number of documents before employment can be agreed upon and before drawing up the contract. Legally-required documents when recruiting in Bulgaria include the following:

  • Medical certificate: To confirm the applicant’s health.
  • Professional and educational qualifications: Evidence of the relevant qualifications for the role.
  • Personal data: Documents confirming the candidate’s ID.
  • Criminal record: Can be requested for specific roles as allowed under employment legislation.
  • Any other information the employer requires cannot compromise the candidate’s protection under the Protection against Discrimination Act.

Required: Check that the potential employee satisfies work permit, residency and visa requirements.

Basic Facts when Recruiting in Bulgaria

The Labour Code is the primary legislation governing the employer-employee relationship in Bulgaria, which also establishes regulations applying to contracts.

  • A written contract must be registered with the National Revenue Agency within three days of being signed by the employer and employee.
  • Both parties retain a copy.
  • Employment cannot be lawfully started before the NRA is notified.
  • The contract can be in any language, but the authorities may require a Bulgarian translation and will be required in case of legal disputes.
  • Minimum details for the contract are the date of signing and when employment begins; location of work and job description; length of employment if relevant (fixed-term contracts); working hours; salary and payment schedule; notice period for termination (the same for both parties).
  • Under Article 67 of the Labor Code, contracts are generally open-ended for an unlimited period.
  • Fixed-term contracts cannot exceed a total of three years, either in the case of single or repeated contracts.
  • Contracted probation periods cannot exceed six months.

After hiring and onboarding, employers must know other considerations detailed in the Labour Code. Minimum standards include sick leave, working hours, maternity allowances, paid vacations, termination and severance, notice periods and social insurance payments. Other rules regulate workplace discrimination. Examples include the following:

  • Working hours are 40 a week based on five eight-hour days, as set by the Labor Code. Employers can increase working hours by written agreement or consultation with workers’ representatives to 10 hours daily.
  • The minimum wage set for 2022 remained at BGN 645 (EUR 332, USD 349) per month, as set by the Council of Ministers.
  • Employers withhold employees’ income tax and social insurance contributions and remit them to the National Revenue Agency and the National Social Security Institute.
  • Maternity leave totals 410 days, 45 of which are taken before the due date. If the birth is within 45 days, the balance is added to the allowance taken after the birth.


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