At least BGN 3,500 is needed to emigrate to England after Brexit

Pay a visa, health care fee, ask for alimony in a bank account or sponsor

Getting a job in the UK is becoming a major challenge for European citizens after the country leaves the EU. Although social media is full of messages about people looking for people on English farms, social homes and courier companies,

the chances

for hire

are not large

Most advertisements warn that it is good for applicants to have residency status in the United Kingdom and a national insurance number in order to avoid some difficulties in concluding a contract. And as our inspection showed, they are not small at all.

Because of Brexit, it is no longer possible to go to the Island and start looking for a job if you were not in the country before the end of last year and did not settle your status. You can enter as a tourist or visiting relatives, but in this situation it exists

stay limit until

6 months and a ban on trying

The only legal opportunity for newly arrived Bulgarians wishing to work is to apply for a work visa. And this is true even of seasonal workers on English farms, who usually stay for a few months each year in the United Kingdom. For example, they have to pay £ 244 to apply for a 6-month visa and have £ 1,270 in alimony initially to be in their bank account for at least a month.

As most seasonal workers do not have such an amount, they are allowed to sign a sponsorship agreement with their future employer for it and then to be deducted from their earnings. So it’s good to keep in mind that some 1514 pounds of what they earn, or 3430 leva, will go to cover the new visa requirements. Separate are the transport costs to get to the UK, which in the best case is about 100 levs.

For other professions with long-term contracts, visa fees are between 232 and 1408 pounds and there are

requirement to earn at least

£ 25,600 a year

and good command of English. Also pay an annual fee of £ 624 for healthcare.

In recent days, it has become clear that Bulgarian citizens are not allowed to apply for a 55-pound reduction in all visa fees – an opportunity given to citizens of 26 countries, including 21 from the EU.

That is why our people who go to work on English farms, for example, will pay 244 pounds for a visa, and their colleagues from our neighboring Macedonia, Turkey and Greece – 189 pounds each. When they apply for work in hospitals or social homes, the difference will be 232 and 177 pounds for a three-year visa, respectively, and for a longer – 464 and 409 pounds in favor of our neighbors.

Worryingly, their UK employers also cannot count on a £ 199 discount to issue the sponsorship certificate required when applying for a visa, which

makes Bulgarians “more expensive”

their hiring companies

The citizens of Romania, Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia are also in an unequal position. The British authorities explain this division with a list of countries that have ratified the Social Charter of the Council of Europe – an international treaty of 1961.

The document obliges the signatories to ease the existing formalities and to reduce or eliminate the fees paid by foreign workers or their employers. The five countries concerned have also acceded to the charter, but have signed a newer version, which London has decided not to abide by after Brexit, especially since the issue was not part of the negotiations for Britain’s withdrawal from the union.

Currently a group of MEPs, including the Bulgarian Petar Vitanov (see below), are trying to put pressure on the European institutions to end this injustice in London’s visa policy.

Petar Vitanov: The problem with British visas is the same as with American ones

In both cases, Bulgarians are discriminated against, says the MEP

– Mr. Vitanov, you are part of the group of MEPs who are trying to persuade the UK not to charge citizens of Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia higher than other EU countries when issuing work visas. Do you think that your voice will be heard in London, since the United Kingdom is no longer part of the Union and is not obliged to comply with the views of the European Parliament?

– Together with colleagues from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, we sent a letter to the Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Ševčović. It calls for all institutional mechanisms to be used to address this issue, as it violates one of the EU’s fundamental principles of non-discrimination against member states.

The case is not so much about the discount of 55 pounds from the price of visas, although for many people in Bulgaria this is a large amount, but rather for unequal treatment of European citizens by the United Kingdom. Under the new London visa regime, some countries enjoy privileges and others are harmed. That is why we want a policy to be applied to all citizens of EU countries. The European Parliament has enough tools at its disposal to persuade Britain to do so.

– For their decision, the British authorities refer to a social charter, which the affected countries have not signed in the version in which Britain has done so. And since this issue was not raised during the Brexit negotiations, they are free not to apply concessions to all countries. In this situation, is there really a chance that this injustice will be remedied?

– I do not think that these arguments are valid, as the five affected countries have signed a new version of the charter, which expands the original one. There is a chance that we will influence the UK’s decision, as the EU has yet to conclude a number of sectoral agreements with it, and I count on the European Parliament and the European Commission to firmly uphold the right to visa non-discrimination during the negotiations. I believe that no documents should be signed until this problem is resolved.

– The issue of British visas is very similar to that of American visas, in which the European Parliament failed to persuade the European Commission to impose reciprocal visas for US citizens in the EU, as the US continues to require such visas for entry from four European countries. , including Bulgaria. Won’t the same thing happen with the British double visa standard?

– Indeed, the issue of American visas is exactly the same and again it is about discrimination. In the case of the United States, we are harmed along with the citizens of Romania, Croatia and Cyprus. Only the EU requires visas to enter the United States. According to European legislation, the EC is obliged to take sanctions when there is such unequal treatment of an EU member state. In other words, all EU countries must impose visas on American citizens in response. As we have 5 years of refusal by the European Commission to issue such a delegated act, the European Parliament must refer the matter to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and lodge a complaint against the EC for non-compliance with European legislation.

Whether this will happen remains to be seen, as the deadline is March 4. We Socialists would support such a decision, which must be taken by the President of the European Parliament. Our motive is that the EU is based on the principles of solidarity and equality. Things that were violated by the visa policy of the United States and now the United Kingdom. Both countries apply double standards.

– As a representative of Bulgarian citizens in the European Parliament, how would you explain to them that in the case of British and American visas, they are always among the victims?

– Here is the role of the EU, as Bulgaria itself is a relatively small country with limited opportunities for diplomatic pressure. The European institutions have sufficient mechanisms to make countries outside the organization rethink their behavior. We are aware that visas to the United States are unlikely to fall soon, as a trial takes time, but for us the principle of solidarity in the EU is extremely important, and in such moments it must unconditionally manifest itself.


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