Simplified EU Blue Card procedure for highly-qualified IT specialists and new rules for intra-corporate transfers 

On May 21, 2016, the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act was implemented. The new Act establishes a simplified procedure and further benefits for highly-skilled non-EU national IT specialists applying for an EU Blue Card. Plus new rules for intra-corporate transfers. Existing rules have been consolidated and supersede previous legislation, and brings Bulgarian laws in line with existing European Union (EU) law.
EU Blue Card for high-skilled shortage occupations 
The new Act also clarifies an amendment, introduced in October 2015, to the work permit regulations, establishing special rules for EU Blue Card applicants in certain shortage occupations. The official list of highly-skilled shortage occupations, which will be updated annually in January, includes: 
- Sales professionals in the field of information and communication technologies
- System analysts
- Software developers
- Web content and multimedia developers
- Applications programmers
- Software developers and software applications analysts 
- Designers and database administrators
- System administrators
- Computer network specialists
- Database and network specialists
Three main changes resulting from the new legislation are: 
1. Highly-skilled non-EU nationals in qualifying shortage occupations can now obtain an EU Blue Card without the usual labor market testing, and therefore with expedited processing. The labor market test exemption saves two weeks, and also reduces both EU Blue Card and consular D visa application processing by two weeks. 
2. Highly-qualified non-EU specialists on the official list can now obtain an EU Blue Card valid for a stay of up to three years, in line with the employment contract. Normally, the EU Blue Card is only issued for one year at a time, and the renewal process is difficult to carry out. 
3. According to the Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act, the simplified EU Blue Card, for highly-qualified employees in one of the shortage occupations, can only be issued when the gross salary of the employee is at least two times higher than the average salary in Bulgaria. This is based on official data available for the 12 months preceding the signing of the employment contract. The previous regulations required the salary for these listed professions to be three times higher than the national average. For other employees of non-EU countries (not included in the shortage list), the gross salary must be at least 1.5 times higher than the average salary in Bulgaria, per existing legislation. 
Intra-corporate transfer 
The Labour Migration and Labour Mobility Act also implemented the 2014 EU Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (2014/66/EU). The principal changes to the law in Bulgaria are as follows:
The required ratio of foreign national to Bulgarian national employees of 1:10 is no longer applicable to intra-corporate transfers (ICT). This ratio is also not applicable to foreign nationals hired under the EU Blue Card scheme. This makes it easier for smaller Bulgarian companies to employ foreign specialists
The maximum total stay for ICT purposes has been set at three years (if renewed annually) for managers and specialists (and one year for trainees). Previously, senior managers could apply to renew their ICT work permit indefinitely
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Peregrine Blog