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Bulgaria: Lowered threshold for permanent residency in Bulgaria for foreign investors

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Rossitza Koleva

After the Bulgarian Parliament amended, at a second reading on February 13 2013, texts of the Law on Investment Act in the Republic of Bulgaria, foreign investors in the country will receive the statute of permanent residents at an amended threshold. This amendment altered some of the permanent residency criteria after President Plevneliev vetoed them in December 2012. Now for the sake of comparing the status before and after the President's veto – according to the law, initially adopted by the Bulgarian Parliament last November, Bulgarian citizenship could have been acquired by any foreign investor willing to invest BGN1 million ($665,000) into the economy of the country, particularly in the capital of a company with a priority investment project.

What the Parliament did on February 13 2013 was to change these permanent residency requirements by decreasing significantly the required investment for several categories of applicants.

According to the new regulations, permanent residency will be granted to anyone who invests BGN600,000 in Bulgarian property, BGN500,000 in a Bulgarian legal entity and by opening not less than 10 working place or BGN250,000 in a firm with not less than five jobs in an economically underdeveloped region. A further clarification from the Law on Investment Act, article 25, defines that permanent residency is given to foreigners that have invested in the country by depositing in the capital of a Bulgarian legal entity not less than BGN500,000, where the foreigner is a partner or shareholder with registered shares not less than 50% of the company's capital and as a result of which new long term and non-material assets have been acquired for not less than BGN500,000 and at least 10 new jobs for Bulgarian citizens are opened and kept for the entire period of the foreigner's stay, certified by the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

In addition, enterprises that have opened new jobs will receive back the insurances for the newly hired employees for a two-year period, under the condition that the investment and the labor engagement are maintained by the employers for not less than three years for small and medium enterprises and not less than five years for large size enterprises. The newly opened jobs will be a criterion for the issuing of the specific certificate for investment category. This will encourage investors with projects in the services field where the size of the investment is not large but the generated hires are significant, for example – the outsourcing projects which lately, is a sector that attracts more and more investments in Bulgaria.

Rossitza Koleva (rossitza.koleva@eurofast.eu)

Eurofast Global, Sofia Office, Bulgaria

Tel: +359 2 988 69 78

Website: www.eurofast.eu

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