Impoverished Bulgarian workers will have to wait more than 220 years before they see their pay reach western European levels, research has shown.
A study by the Institute for Market Economics found that, if Bulgaria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continued to grow at its present rate of 3% per year, Bulgarian salaries would take an average of 223 years to reach the same level as the current EU average.
The average wage in Bulgaria is £1,602 per year, compared with the EU average of £14,000, according to the institute’s figures. However, in a more optimistic scenario with an annual GDP increase of 8%, the report said Bulgarian workers’ salaries could reach the EU average in just 36 years.
The country has placed strict employment restrictions on foreign workers since it joined the EU on 1 January. Foreigners will be employed only if no Bulgarian candidates can fill positions. Citizens of EU member countries would then be given priority. Workers from ‘third’ countries will be last on the priority list, as long as they do not account for more than 10% of a company’s total workforce.