Does Bulgaria need low-skilled foreign workers?

Александър Добринов
author: Alexander Dobrinov

Almost all Bulgarians would answer this question with a resounding “NO”.

Why would we need foreign low-skilled workers when there are many Bulgarians who struggle financially?

But shouldn’t this argument be a thing of the past? Don’t we need completely new approach towards the foreign low-skilled workers, in line with the changed realms in Bulgaria? In recent years, Bulgaria has went through a serious metamorphosis and it is about time for some of the old dogmas to be revisited.

The time has come for the Bulgarians to make a step up in the social ladder and to get rid of the branding “low-skilled worker”. Because they aren’t such, since a long time already…

The people in Bulgaria have made many sacrifices and compromises in the name of the Euro-Atlantic values. And now, when they are part of the dreamed “western world”, isn’t it time for them to start consuming the “sweet fruits” of this world.

Foreign workers in other EU countries

One can’t ignore the vast amount of foreign low-skilled workers in most Western countries. Bulgaria has long earned its place in the “club of the rich countries”, but due to the restrictive legislation, Bulgarians can’t hire foreign workers, whenever they want to. And unless this is changed, no matter how much money the Bulgarian economy attracts, no matter how many cheap loans are taken by the public, the Bulgarians will not be able to feel as being “truly rich”.

Bulgarians have access to a lot of money

The times of a dinner at the restaurant for $5 and an apartment in Sofia for $20,000 have gone forever. Bulgaria, on a global scale, is an expensive country! Bulgarians spend a lot of money, not only at home, but also abroad. In Egypt and the Dominican Republic, the local guides are already learning Bulgarian. Bulgaria, in the ranking of Allianz, is in 36th place in terms of wealth in the world. Many Bulgarians will not agree with such rankings, but the numbers do not lie, nor the money left by Bulgarian tourists abroad, especially in the last few years.

High prices and generous loans

With an average apartment price in Sofia of 150,000 – 200,000 euro, the Bulgarian construction business is in desperate need of workers. And such are hard to find in Bulgaria. This is because Bulgarians, in order to pay off their mortgage loans of a quarter of million euro, don’t fancy working hard for a thousand euro per month. And this is logical, as even if they save everything, it will take more than 20 years of hard work to repay the loans and interests.

Bulgarians don’t fancy picking strawberries in the UK anymore (and thank God)

Do you remember the times when almost every Bulgarian was dreaming of picking strawberries in the fields of Wales? Those times, thankfully, are over. With the salary of a strawberry picker, paying off the loan in Bulgaria would take centuries. There are no Polish plumbers in London nor Bulgarian strawberry pickers in the UK anymore. This work is left to Pakistanis and workers from Bangladesh.

Bulgarians want to hire foreigners, but they do not have this opportunity

More and more Bulgarian employers want to hire foreigners. Unfortunately, the legislation is extremely restrictive and this is practically impossible. The average Bulgarian for example, due to legislative obstacles, can’t even dream of hiring a foreign babysitter. Bulgarian construction entrepreneurs can only dream of employing construction workers from Bangladesh, as their colleagues from other European countries do.

Restrictive legislation

Currently, a minimum of 1,5-2 months are required to hire a foreigner from a non-EU country. This is in the most optimistic scenario. The administrative work to be carried out by the employer is estimated at 1500-2500 euro. It is logical that under such conditions, hiring foreigners for low-skilled work is unprofitable. And until this changes, Bulgarians will continue to work at construction sites, as cashiers, maids, etc. There is no shame in any job, but there are no local maids in Western Europe, especially such who own homes, worth millions.

For assistance

If you have still decided to hire a foreigner in Bulgaria, the legislation does not prohibit it, not at all. It’s just that the procedures are complicated and time-consuming. And if you need assistance, and you certainly will, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

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