Bulgaria May Ease Citizenship Terms for Foreign Investors

January 31, 2013, Thursday // 04:53
Bulgaria: Bulgaria May Ease Citizenship Terms for Foreign Investors
Bulgaria already is handing out passports to ethnic Bulgarians outside its borders, the main beneficiaries being citizens of Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey. File photo

Bulgaria is expected to pass a law that will ease even further the process of granting citizenship to foreign investors in a bid to boost the country's ailing economy.

Bulgaria will be offering citizenship to foreigners, who come from non EU states, ready to invest at least BGN 500 000, under amendments to the Investment Encouragement Act proposed in response to the presidential veto at the end of last year.

The amendments, tabled by MPs from the ruling party GERB, were scheduled to be put to the vote at the economic parliamentary committee on Wednesday, but the Socialist and ethnic Turkish opposition boycotted the meeting and it failed.

Under the amendments, the candidates would have to invest in a Bulgarian company involved in a high-priority investment project in industry, infrastructure, transport or tourism.

The investors also are required to have had residence status in the country for at least one year.

The right-wingers from the Blue Coalition have even proposed lowering the investment amount thresholds for foreigners to be granted permanent residency status and Bulgarian citizenship down to BGN 250 000, when the money is poured in regions with high unemployment.

The purchase of real estate property, worth at least BGN 600 000, is another way to gain permanent residency status, according to the new proposals.

Current legislation provides permanent residency status to a foreigner who has invested over BGN 1 M in public companies or joint ventures or has deposited the money at a Bulgarian bank for a period of five years.

Bulgaria already is handing out passports to ethnic Bulgarians outside its borders, the main beneficiaries being citizens of Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey.


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