Finding work in Bulgaria can be a challenge as the country due to corruption and organized crime. Unemployment levels have reduced from previous heights in the past and inflation is under control. As expected, knowledge and experience in the Bulgarian language is preferred when working in Bulgaria. Like many EU counties, the most popular job for expats is teaching English (refer to our section on “How To Look for Work” for more info about teaching English).
Job opportunities exist in the larger cities in Bulgaria, especially for those who know the language or with specific job experience and IT skills. Most opportunities will be for specialists working for multinational companies, however, Bulgarian companies usually recruit Bulgarian graduates before considering foreigners.
The major industries in Bulgaria include machinery and equipment, chemicals and plastics, food and drink, electricity, gas, water, tobacco, base metals, Coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel. IT, telecommunications, and the financial sector are areas that are rapidly growing.
Seasonal work in the ski industry is usually relatively easy to get, but wages can be low.
One of the best ways to find a job in Bulgaria is to network with people. Send out resumes and cover letters to businesses that do work overseas. Arrange to meet with an individual who has done work in Bulgaria or has connections overseas. Another tip is to see if businesses based in your home country has a sister company or branch in Bulgaria. Various international companies have invested in branch offices in Bulgaria, which creates job opportunities for expats.
Search engines are great for scanning out multiple jobs in the area of your interest. It is helpful to post your CV or resume online so employers can find you. Signing up for e-mail alerts can also help you become more aware of new job opportunities.
As part of the EU, job seekers can access the European job mobility portal EURES. This resource provides information about job vacancies and the labor market. It also provides information on the living and working conditions, and a CV posting service.
Sofia's English-language newspapers may occasionally contain help-wanted ads for jobs that fall outside the scope of English language instruction. The one major qualification for an English language instructor is for English to be your first language. TEFL certifications are useful, but not required everywhere. Most of the companies that advertise for positions that would attract educated and skilled foreigners are usually foreign owned. These newspapers can be found online or in print.
Networking can help you find the perfect position. Chat with other expats and share your experience on our expat forum.
An employment contract is standard for any working environment and in the case of student or short-term work; a student employment contract may be used. This usually imposes a time limit between a student and an employer, with the student getting a salary for his/her work. Making a formal student work contract is not mandatory (it is possible to sign a standard employee contract instead), but may have additional benefits for a student position.
ISE Card (International Student Exchange Card) - An internationally recognized identification card with thousands of discounts in over 80 countries, it is valid for one year from date of issue. Students of ANY age are eligible, as well as faculty members and children to young adults from 12-25. The price is $25 and you can purchase it online at www.isecard.com.
SIC (International Student Identity Card) - Full-time students 12 years and older offers discounts on travel rates, accommodations, shopping, entertainment, basic sickness and travel insurance, and inexpensive international phone calls. A passport sized photo is required and the card costs about $25 and is good through December 31st of each year. It can be purchased at www.isic.org.
IYTC (International Youth Travel Card) - A discount card for travelers under 26 who aren't enrolled in school, this card offers a smaller range of youth travel discounts. The card costs $22 card.
There are two types of entry visas for Bulgaria; 'long stay' and 'short stay'. Holders of a short stay visa are not eligible to seek employment in Bulgaria.
To qualify for a work permit in Bulgaria you must first obtain a 'long-stay' visa. The sponsor company (employer) in Bulgaria will apply for a work permit on behalf of the applicant to the Bulgarian Employment Agency.
Applying for a Bulgaria Work Permit requires the submission of certain documents such as a copy of your employment contract, documentation detailing activities of a Bulgaria business trip, a valid passport, passport photos, certified document evidencing your long stay visa, and relevant medical report demonstrating applicant's good health.
For more on visas, refer to our section on “Passport, Visa & Permits”.
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