To speed up the procedure for issuing the so-called “Blue Card” to allow work and residence permit in Bulgaria for foreign specialists in the field of high technology. That was insisted by representatives of professional organizations of the IT sector at a meeting with Minister of Economy Bojidar Loukarsky held today. Currently, the Bulgarian high technologies market suffers from a great hunger for such specialists but the procedure for granting a permit takes from 6 to 9 months, which is not functional, the sector said. Their data reveal that only two Blue Cards to computer specialists were issued last year. According to industry, a change in the Bulgarian Citizenship Act is required to shorten the procedure up to a month.
Minister Loukarsky assured that work for changes in the law to facilitate and speed up procedures is ongoing together with other responsible departments, but in view of the requirements for safety the issuance could hardly be reduced to a month. He suggested the Ministry of Economy to commit itself in obtaining and processing the documents submitted by the applicants for Blue Card to the other institutions, as currently a number of necessary documents are presented to various departments, which difficult the applicants. According to the Minister, the fact that the IT industry is suffering from a shortage of labor is a proof that it is well- developed. According to the companies, the production of Bulgarian high-tech enterprises has increased 5 times in the last five years.
Representatives of high-tech companies raised also the problem that the Law on Investment Promotion currently provides some market advantages of foreign companies in the sector and reduces the competitiveness of Bulgarian high-tech enterprises. They pointed out for example, that Ukrainian companies are currently entering into the country, receiving investment grade A and qualifying for a refund, which reduces their costs of about 18% and makes Bulgarian companies uncompetitive. According to the IT industry, the current state of law has been prepared to stimulate employment in sectors with high unemployment, but it is inconsistent with the needs of the sectors where there are labor shortages. Deputy Minister of Economy Daniela Vezieva also attended the meeting and said that the Ministry is also working on amendments to the Law on Investment Promotion, so that any benefits provided with the law shall be in compliance with the specific nature of the different sectors.
The meeting was also addressed the issue of continuously increasing maximal insurance income, which results in uncertainty in the sector where wages are high. The IT industry said that they expect Minister Loukarsky to become the ambassador of the policy in attracting high-tech professionals in our country.