New Bulgaria Citizenship Act to Resolve Demographic Crisis
The much anticipated amendments of the Bulgarian Citizenship Act are to be discussed by the Council of Ministers during the first week of 2010 and then enter the Parliament.
The most significant changes involve the elimination of the so-called “middlemen” in the process of applying for citizenship along with establishing strict deadlines for responding to the application while all certificates of Bulgarian origin will be issued by the State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad not from the State Agency for National Security (DANS) and the Interior Ministry.
The information was announced Monday by the Minister for Bulgarians Abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov, who says the amendments will eliminate corruption and speed up the process.
According to Dimitrov, the majority of the 2,5 million people with Bulgarian roots living in Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Romania, the Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and all other former Soviet Republics, Turkey and Greece, wish to obtain Bulgarian passports while 70% of them are willing to permanently relocate to Bulgaria, buy a house and find work.
The Minister says the old legislation had many loopholes leading to the appearance of a mafia trading Bulgarian citizenship, citing as such the provision that a negotiator should collect and submit the required paperwork and the lack of deadlines to respond to the application, which opened the door for state employees to enter into shady deals with the negotiators and delay the issuing of a passport for years.
The amount, allegedly asked by the above said negotiators of brokers, had reached EUR 10 000 to 20 000 and no less than EUR 5 000, according to Dimitrov.
The amendments will allow for up to 30 000 people to be granted Bulgarian citizenship each year compared to the current 7 113 in 2008 and 9 400 in 2009.
The 30 000 new Bulgarians annually will help the country to solve its demographic crisis, the Minister believes.
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