Work in Bulgaria | Everything you need to know
Bulgarian Lev (лв)
The oldest country in Europe – Bulgaria. Established in the 7th century has functioned well to this day. The beauty of the country is mountains, lakes, rivers and the Black Sea coastline. Even though some people say life is going a little bit slower there, you can find many interesting things to do. Popular activities are watersports or skiing, but if you are looking for more nightlife you should definitely head to Sofia. With a low cost of living and scenic landscapes, it is the perfect scenery to start your journey by working abroad.
Keep in mind that Bulgaria is not only a capital city. To explore it entirely you have to go further. Maybe your new colleagues will show you around? Check our Job offers in Bulgaria, if you are interested in starting your work there. Read the article if you want to know more or if you still hesitate whether this unique country is good for you.
Bulgaria is located in the south of Europe. It lies on Balkan Peninsula, by the Black Sea. The population of 6,875,040 is spread over an area of 110,994km². Sofia is the capital city and the official language is Bulgarian. Currency is called Bulgarian lev and shall be written as BNG or лв. Continental climate connected with a bit of subtropical accent gives hot summers and cold winters.
5 Curiosities about Bulgaria
- Rakia is a well known Bulgarian alcoholic national drink. It’s made from fermented pears, grapes or apricots.
- Motto of the capital city – Sofia – is “grows but does not age”.
- It’s a homeland of yoghurt. They drink it believing that’s what makes them live longer.
- Bulgaria has the third biggest biodiversity from Eastern European countries.
- Since the year it was established, Bulgaria hasn’t changed its name. It’s the only country in Europe which can boast of this.
Well-rooted Culture in Bulgaria
Traditions in Bulgaria are rooted deeply in history. Some of them are practised till nowadays. During your visit, you may experience e.g Rose picking, which later became even more of a tourist attraction. It is worth knowing that rose is a symbol of Bulgaria. Music festivals are another entertainment very common for this nation. Society willingly participates in events like the International Folklore Festival in Burgas or Musical Weeks in Sofia. Opera and theatre remain popular among Bulgarians, same with libraries.
When it comes to sports disciplines, Bulgaria is leading the way in boxing, tennis or gymnastics, however, their real gem is weight lifting. The most popular sport to watch among the Bulgarian society is football.
The most vibrant nightlife takes place of course in the capital city – Sofia, however everywhere you can find something for a night with newly met friends.
Diverse Cuisine in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is well-known for its wide range of dishes made from vegetables or meat. Many kinds of salads, soups, meatballs, grilled meat pieces and sausages, stuffed cabbage. Some of the most popular vegetables are cucumber, tomato or potatoes. All of this combined with wine or rakia may give you unforgettable culinary memories. They usually use a lot of various mild spices combined with onion or garlic. Their cuisine is often compared to Turkish or Greek. Ingredients are fresh and said to be exceptionally tasty.
Some of the national dishes are
- White brine (feta) cheese
- Banitsa (dough filled with spinach, meat, rice, cheese etc.)
- Tarator (cold Cucumber Soup)
- Shopska Salad
Three-course meal in a restaurant will cost you around €15, beer is a cost of €1.85. Cappuccino will cost you €1.25.
Work in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a small country in Europe, although it is not a big economy it still has been recording a steady economic growth in the past years and many international businesses are settled down here. The biggest opportunities in the job markets can be found in the IT sector and language services but also in their main industries like energy, mining, metallurgy and tourism.
The work culture in Bulgaria is based on trust and respectful relationships, and it does not differ so much from other European countries. Bulgarians take their time getting to know new people, so for expats it’s important to be open, trustful and patient while building business relationships.
A key fact about understanding Bulgarian business culture is their reverse meaning of head shaking and nodding, while a head shake is a ‘yes’ for them a nod refers to a ‘no’.
Work in Sofia
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and also the main city, it has the strongest local economy in the country and a far lower unemployment rate than the rest of the country. The biggest economic output is metallurgy, manufacturing, energy, gas and water, but the IT sector is increasing its activity with some huge industries like IBM, Siemens and Software AG. These industries are requiring expats to work here for language purposes, especially teaching English which is highly sought in the city.
Taxes in Bulgaria
One of the biggest attractions in Bulgaria is their flat rate of income tax, being 10% whatever income you have, so this has attracted many expats from all over Europe to work here. Additionally, they have social security contributions of about 12-13% og the 10% rate, but even with this is still lower than many other European countries.
As an expat residing in Bulgaria, even for less than 183 days, you have to pay the 10% income tax but only for your Bulgarian income, if you’re staying longer, then you would pay for the worldwide income as it is for residents with more than 183 days.
To register and get your VAT number, you must go to the NRA (National Revenue Agency) and submit an application form, then you will receive a VAT number, however, after doing this we recommend you to ask your employer if this process is made by them or you must do it yourself.
Finding accommodation in Bulgaria
As it was already mentioned Bulgaria is one of the countries, where accommodation costs are quite low. The easiest way to find a place to stay is by looking online. However, be careful, sometimes on the Bulgarian market, you can meet scammers.
Because of the language barrier, many expats decide to use real estate agents’ help. You have to keep in mind that even though the choice of agencies might be big, you will have to pay them a fee for this service.
Another good idea are Facebook groups for people like you. You can contact the landlord directly, or maybe find somebody who is looking for a roommate! Don’t be afraid to ask and socialize.
Living cost in Bulgaria
The cost of living in Bulgaria is relatively low compared to other European countries, combined with their beautiful landscapes with high mountains, their fortresses and warm and cosy little towns to visit, make all expats want to stay longer than expected in this magical country. Right now, the average wage in Bulgaria is approx. €860, and the costs, in general, are about €475.
Here is a more detailed description of each cost in Bulgaria.
|Accommodation* (1 bedroom apartment in the city centre and outside)||350|
|1min prepaid mobile tariff local||0.15|
|Meal in a mid-range restaurant||12.50|
|Fitness Club (1 month fee)||20,52|
|Transport (Monthly pass)||25.57|
* Prisene kan variere avhengig av nabolaget, antall personer som bor i leiligheten og fasiliteter.
** Avhenger sterkt av kostholdet ditt og hvilke butikker du kjøper mat og drikke.
Expats in Bulgaria
Life in Bulgaria is very relaxed and chill. Bulgarians prioritise family, friends and life over anything else, so there’s always time for a coffee or to talk with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. This is way different from other more busy countries, so if you’re of the chill type then you should consider Bulgaria as your destination.
During your spare time Bulgaria has a lot to offer, no matter if you like to explore or socialize or love the adrenaline, this country has many options for every taste. Since their many mountains perfect for hiking to their resorts around the country perfect for relaxing and unwinding, no wonder why Bulgaria is known as the spa capital of the Balkans. Also, it is a strong cultural country, so there’s always a festival and events going on, so you won’t get bored living here.
Where to learn Bulgarian
If you have decided to move to Bulgaria, then we recommend you to start learning a bit of the language, because many of the official officers may not know English, so it’s important to know the basics at least to better the experience. There are many online courses to learn bulgarian that may be free or cost between €4 to €9 a month, also it’s important to know that their alphabet is different, so a good place to start is learning their alphabet first, there are many pictures on the internet of the translation and pronunciation of the Bulgarian alphabet, so give it a try and you’ll find is easier than expected.
Bulgaria is a small country with about the same population as London city, and with about 86.000 expats living there because of their many benefits like low tax rates, low living cost and an increasing economic growth over the last years. But also, Bulgaria has an exceptional nature with high mountains, beautiful little villages and a cosy warm atmosphere, Bulgarian people also is very familiar and chill so it’s easier to find a spot in their society if your respectful and kind. There is not a concrete city where expats prefer to live in Bulgaria, unlike other European countries, expats are widely diverse over all the cities in Bulgaria and there are plenty of opportunities to find expats communities in each of them.
We know that moving abroad can be an overwhelming situation, so If you are interested to work abroad in Bulgaria, don’t hesitate to contact us and we can help you through the entire process from finding a job to accommodation tips and help as much as possible.