The Official Statement of Bulgarian Business
The official statement of Bulgarian business is in response to a proposal by the Justice Ministry. The Ministry proposes Bulgarian citizenship not to be obtained by (short-term) investments!
The Association of Bulgarian Employers’ Organizations (AOBR) issued an official opinion on the public discussion of the Draft Amending Bill (ZID). It was published at the end of March this year and immediately triggered serious discussions.
The Law on Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Citizenship Act provide foreign investors the right to acquire a residence permit. And also apply for Bulgarian citizenship on the basis of investments made. This is recalled by AOBR, stating that at the end of January, the Justice Ministry announced that it is preparing legislation changes. With these controversial changes aimed foreign investors are deprived of the opportunity to apply for citizenship due to investments.
The Proposal of the Ministry of Justice
A key point in the Draft Amendment Bill to the Law on Bulgarian Citizenship (ZIDZBG) is the proposal to limit the opportunities for acquiring citizenship by foreign investors.
However, according to the employers, this proposal of the Ministry is due to several factors. Quote: “The lack of relevant statistical data, adequate information on the current status of the regulation and the necessity of changes in view of the identified imperfections and abuses in the procedure for acquiring Bulgarian citizenship”.
In their opinion, the employers point out that the Law for Foreigners in the Republic of Bulgaria (LFRB) offers alternative investment options for those who have decided to invest their funds in Bulgaria.
In order to obtain a right of permanent residence, and subsequently citizenship, every foreigner carries out his investment in accordance with the requirements of the law.
The Harm of Such a Change of Law
However, according to employers, the Bulgarian Citizenship Act is a flaw in the lack of an obligation to maintain the investment until citizenship is acquired.
The AOBR underline that although the main problem is the “lack of real investment in the Bulgarian economy”, no current statistical data and arguments in favor of such an assertion are presented. On the contrary, according to the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), the growth of foreign investments in 2017 compared to 2016 is 36.7%! Or, expressed in figures, this was an increase of EUR 241.9 million.
Therefore, AOBR believes that no information is provided on the current state of the system.
According to the employers, it is incorrectly reported that limiting the opportunities for acquiring citizenship by foreign investors would not have a negative impact on that group as interested persons.
The Impact on the State Budget of the CIP
They disagree and ZIDZBG will not have an impact on the state budget.
The abolition of the possibility for investors who have been granted a right of permanent residence on government treasures papers (GTP) to apply for citizenship would make the option of residence unattractive. This will lead to a decline in investor interest in Bulgarian government bonds. This will affect the state budget.
AOBR urge to draw attention to the recommendations of the European Commission to the Member States implementing economic policies for investment and immigration. These recommendations do not dictate the cessation of such policies but provide a set of measures designed to optimize national investment programs.
The Conclusions According to the Bulgarian Business
According to the employers, the current ZIDZBG is a counterpoint to the position of the competent EU bodies. And also the objective economic environment. ZID’s proposals are not substantiated by the factual circumstances, the Association said.
For this reason, AOBR insist on the adoption of legislative measures to improve the regulatory framework. This will preserve the opportunities for foreign investors to apply for citizenship.
VD&A is an international consulting and law firm. Over the years, our company has earned serious authority on issues related to migration problems. The opinion of the experts of the firm is entirely covered by that of the representatives of the Bulgarian employers and business.
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