When some of the economically poorer central and eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic joined the European Union back in 2004, more wealthy countries such as the UK and Germany feared that the numbers of immigrants from these countries that they would receive would increase beyond sustainable levels.
Now that Bulgaria, another eastern European nation is in line for EU accession next year, the previous fears of the UK and Germany have been turned on their heads as the Bulgarian immigration department reports that more Britons and Germans are moving to Bulgaria than ever before and that fewer Bulgarians are looking overseas for employment and seeking to leave their nation behind.
According to the immigration department in Bulgaria, inward migration is currently outstripping outward migration so it seems that living and working in Bulgaria is becoming more and more attractive.
The low property prices in Bulgaria have already attracted many investors to the country and foreign direct investment into Bulgaria has increased substantially as a result. But now an ever increasing number of citizens from wealthier countries such as the UK, Germany and Greece are moving permanently to Bulgaria or seeking to obtain durable residency in the nation.
The number of visitors Bulgaria receives annually during its winter ski season and its summer holiday season has also increased substantially and this has created vacancies in tourism related fields and created a plethora of business opportunities for both locally grown and foreign entrepreneurs.
The figures from the immigration department were discussed by the Bulgarian government last week. There was a 4% increase in the number of foreigners entering the country between 2004 and 2005 and twenty three million people crossed Bulgarian borders in the same period which constitutes almost a seven per cent gain on the previous year’s figures.
There was almost a fifty percent increase in the numbers of Britons seeking to obtain durable residency in Bulgaria last year compared to the year before and a strong increase in the numbers of German citizens moving to Bulgaria too. Meanwhile fewer than average Bulgarians are leaving Bulgaria to work abroad, this is seen as an indication that employment opportunities and conditions in Bulgaria are improving which bodes well for its future as a full member of the European Union.