Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 21/04/23


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Currently, the LAR allows for access to the labour market for asylum seekers, if the determination procedure takes longer than 3 months from the lodging of the asylum application.[1] The permit is issued by the SAR itself in a simple procedure that verifies only the duration of the status determination procedure and whether it is still pending.

In January 2018, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy attempted to amend the law and condition the asylum seekers’ access to the labour market on numerous additional and unfeasible requirements,[2] but the joint lobbying of the SAR, UNHCR and non-governmental organisations prevented the amendment from being voted, and preserved the status quo.

Once issued, the permit allows access to all types of employment and social benefits, including assistance when unemployed. Under the law, asylum seekers also have access to vocational training.[3]

In 2022, the SAR issued 302 labour permits to asylum seekers pending status determination who were looking to support themselves while their asylum claims were being processed.[4] Out of them, only 12 asylum seekers, and 5 beneficiaries of protection were employed. Among them, only 1 beneficiary of protection and 10 asylum seekers did so through employment programs, while the rest found work independently and on their own initiative.[5] At the same time, a total of 2,214 persons with temporary protection were employed, of whom 191 persons found work independently, 16 persons through employment programs and 2,007 persons under schemes of the EU OP Human Resources Development program.[6]

In practice, it is still difficult for asylum seekers to find a job, due to the general difficulties resulting from language barriers, the recession and high national rates of unemployment. Comprehensive statistics on the number of asylum seekers in employment is not collected, except for those officially registered as seeking employment. In 2022, only 4 status holders and 2 asylum seekers and 191 temporary protection holders were registered as job seekers.[7]




[1] Article 29(3) LAR.

[2] National Parliament, Law on Amendment of the Law on Labour Migration and Labour Policy, 802-01-1, 2 January 2018, available in Bulgarian at:

[3] Article 39(1)(2) LAR.

[4] SAR, reg. No. №РД05-40 from 16 January 2023.

[5] Employment Agency, reg. No.РД08-13 from 6 January 2023.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Employment Agency, reg. No.РД08-13 from 6 January 2023.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation