Austrian experts on Bulgaria in “Wirtschaftsblatt”

Zname-Avstria-300x200For more than a century Bulgaria and Austria have an intensive political , economical and cultural cooperation. Especially Austrian companies benefit from a good knowledge of the Bulgarian market. Not only for that reason Austria is the second largest investor of the country. The November issue of the Bulgarian Wirtschaftsblatt focuses on Austria. We have summarized and supplemented some interesting information.

Ambassador Hauser about Bulgaria as an investment country

A steady economical growth, an attractive tax environment as well as decreasing unemployment figures convince investors. Bulgaria has a strong amicable relationship with the German-speaking countries Germany, Switzerland and Austria, ambassador Mr. Mag. Roland Hauser towards Wirtschaftsblatt.

According to him, Bulgaria is at the moment in a phase of relative political stability which strengthens the confidence of Bulgaria as a business location.

Trade expert Straka: Bulgaria is stable!

The Austria trade commissioner in Sofia, Ms. Mag. Ulrike Straka agrees. According to her, Bulgaria has again politically more stable circumstances and there is an EU-friendly government – these are good preconditions. This leads to the fact that already located Austria commercial enterprises continue investing which attracts foreign investors.

But also negative trends on behalf of the government are noticeable, like the rejection of the Anti-corruption Law. Nevertheless in 2014 there has been direct foreign investment in Bulgaria from Austria in the amount of 290,7 mil €. Nearly 10% of the biggest foreign investors are companies from Austria like TelekomAustria, EVN, UniCredit/BankAustria, Knauf, Raiffeisen, OMV, REWE/Billa, WienerStädtischeVersicherung, UNIQA, Strabag and VAE. The popularity can also be seen in tourism. In 2014 174,899 Austrian nationals have visited Bulgaria, an 39.4% increase in comparison to 2013.

Bulgarians at the business location Austria

Conversely there is also interest. The Austrian market is highly coveted among Bulgarian businessmen. The good business climate, the qualified personnel and modern infrastructure, the strategic location between east and west, excellent living conditions as well as a high level of personal, political and legal safety and stability are deciding factors.

According to Straka Bulgarian businessmen are known to be friendly, appreciate Austria and Austrian companies and are highly interested in a cooperation.

In comparison to the Austrians the Bulgarians prefer to import a finished product. The reasons are high labour costs and taxes. Because of that mainly small offices are opened in Austria and simultaneously the favourable-priced Bulgarian resources are used. Also the worldwide known Bulgarian company Walltopia, which is famous for the production of climbing walls, is now doing active business in Austria for more that three years.

According to Hauser the future aim is to maintain the excellent relationship between these two countries through as many concrete projects as possible. He exemplary names the joint preparation for the presidency of the European Union which will be exercised by Bulgaria and Austria successively in 2018/19 as well as the 20th jubilee of the Austrian Music Weeks in Bulgaria 2016.

Roland Hauser
Ambassador  Mag. Roland Hauser (Source: Austrian Embassy in Sofia)

Mag. Roland Hauser finished historical studies, Romance philology studies, philosophy studies as well as his degree study program at the diplomatic academy Vienna. After being Austrian ambassador in Qatar, Kenya and Kuwait he is now ambassador of the Republic Austria in Bulgaria since September 2014. He describes his indeed positive Bulgarian impressions in the latest issue of the Wirtschaftsblatt.

Infographic: The refugee crisis and Germany 2015

The refugee crisis reached an unprecedented peak in 2015 that has to be managed primarily by the EU. Germany can be seen as the most desired destination of the refugees and daily arrive thousands of new ones.

Germany’s Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel showed herself to be full of hope at the beginning, but now more and more diversified opinions divide the population. Demonstrations for the rights of refugees, as well as terrorist attacks take place every day. Negotiations are held, problems are discussed, however no solution is in sight. We concluded all the information in an infographic focusing on Germany.

Balkaninvest proudly presents:

Infographic “The refugee crisis 2015 and Germany”

Infografik Flüchtlinge 2015

You like our infographic on the current situation of the refugee crisis and Germany? Then feel free to link to it, and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and in other social networks.

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The refugee crisis and its consequences for the labor market

The refugee crisis presents the EU with a big challenge. Especially Germany and Austria have to cope with it. In September 163,772 new refugees have been registered.

Curse or Blessing for the labor market? The Balkaninvest-Team starts with this post a series of blogposts on this hot toppic!

refugee crisis and labor market
Refugee crisis and labor market

Differences in the refugee process between Austria and Germany

Refugees in Austria have three month after acceptance for asylum procedure access to independent and dependent work. They are offered time-limited work permits for the following areas:

  • Seasonal or harvest work
  • Working as journalist, artist, sports teacher or language trainer
  • Charitable work
  • EUR 100/month additional earnings
  • (holiday) internship
  • Voluntary work

Once they are granted asylum they are coequal to Austrians except for the voting rights and have free access to the employment and apprenticeship market. Refuges who are not granted asylum but who also cannot be deported to their homeland because of safety reasons are allowed to work and have unrestricted access to the apprenticeship market

In Germany approved refugees with residence permit are allowed to work without restrictions. Additionally there is the suspension of deportation. The suspension is granted to refugees who are not deported although their asylum application has been rejected. This refugees and refugees with residence permit have access to the labor market after three month.

A disparity to Austria is the priority check. German employees or employees from the EU member states have priority over refugees for vacancies.

But because of the current positive labor market situation and the high number of job vacancies (retrieved 9 September 2015) there could be changes in the priority check anytime soon.

Barriers for refugees on the labor market

Beside country-specific differences in job training and practicing it is also important to consider that many refugees only have compulsory education and often are faced with problems concerning the Latin alphabet. Many of them have professions which almost do not exist any more in Europe like carpet makers or fishermen. Most do not own documents or credentials.

In addition to that it can be difficult for them to work in a regulated work environment because of traumatic experiences and their consequences caused by the war.

Integration of refugees on the labor market

In the meantime there are offered online education and employment platforms like Workeer or Mygrade, which connect job seekers and employers and enable an easy application.

Once a refugee is recruited it is advantageous to nominate an employee which cares about the special needs, concerns and problems and simultaneously enable them an easy entrance into the employment market.

Interview with Maria Endreva (Alumniportal)

Maria Endreva of AlumniportalAs a follow-up of the participation of the Balkaninvest-team at the 2015 career-event at Goethe-Insitute, organized by the Alumniportal Germany, we had the chance to talk to the host. Ms. Endreva studied German philology at the Sofia university. After her studies, she started working at the department of German philology. She has been in charge of the Bulgarian section of the Alumniportal since 2010 (with a short break) and organizes events and conferences for people interested in Germany and German language.

In her interview with Balkaninvest, Ms. Endreva said that the great public interest in the career event shows that there is a big demand for qualified professionals with German language skills. She underlined, that Germany and Austria are among the largest investors in Bulgaria. Asked about the option for people with language skills to emigrate to Germany she remarked that this is a personal decision with pros and cons. But in her view, some years working experience in Germany would always a good choice.

Her advice for applicants at German companies was to show in the application that one is not only a qualified professional, but can also handle the cultural differences between the German and the Bulgarian mentality.

Asked about her satisfaction with the career event 2015 she said that it exceeded all expectations. For the next career event which will take place in November she hopes for even more attendants.

To read the full interview, please visit our German section.

Career Fair “Trained in GermanY”


On 01/06/2015 the Balkaninvest team had an exhibition stand at the career fair “Trained in GermanY – career with the German language”. Organized by the Alumni Portal Germany, the event took place in Sofia in the premises of the Goethe Institute Bulgaria.

This career fair should address German speaking Bulgarian professionals as well as recent graduates. A total of almost 150 interested people took the opportunity to network with various business representatives of German employers or other alumni and made sure that the career fair was a huge success.

Well-attended Balkaninvest exhibition stand

Balkaninvest bei Trained in GermanY 2015
The Balkaninvest-Team made valuable contacts – and welcomed more candidates than expected.

The Balkaninvest exhibition stand was well-attended by the visitors of the career fair. With our freshly printed banner and various information materials about job offers and our recruiting agency we were able to attract many interested visitors and conduct many interesting conversations.

But not only Germany alumni visited our stand, also other exhibitors were visiting us for a coffee and small talk. So we were also able to establish new business contacts.

Balkaninvest-competition was a big success

During the fair, we carried out a prize competition at our exhibition stand. Three out of all participants were able to win a voucher for a simulation of a typical job interview with a German employer in our Balkaninvest office – including a written evaluation and suggestions for improvement (with a total value of 149 leva).

Prior to the event we had advertised our prize competition on different channels – with huge success. About 60 interested people took part in our prize competition – a resonance we did not expected. The three lucky winners will be notified through e-mail in the mid of this week.

Fair offered interesting branch mixture

In total, twelve companies of different branches presented themselves at the career exhibition. Besides Balkaninvest the ACO Severin Ahlmann GmbH located in Büdelsdorf in Schleswig-Holstein and companies such as DB Schenker, Lidl or the Lufthansa Technik took part at the career fair.

Reiner Itschertl of Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, Marcus Haas of German Embassy in Sofia, Carmen Struck for the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, Marie Fessel of the DAAD and Maria Endreva representing the German Alumniportal gave short speeches during the official opening of the event.

Get together a worthy conclusion

The organizers of the fair arranged an amazing catering offer for visitors and exhibitors. In addition to juices, coffee and water, cakes, cupcakes and sandwiches were offered. At the end of the exhibition companies and German alumni were invited to a glass of red wine and a “Get together”.

All in all, it was a successful and professionally organized event. We had great conversations, met a lot of nice people and are looking forward to meet all of you again at the next fair.

More pictures:

Unser Team im Gespräch mit der Organisatorin Maria Endreva.
Our Team in discussion with organizer Maria Endreva.
Zahlreiche Besucher mit deutschen Sprachkenntnissen fanden den Weg ins Goethe-Institut.
Numerous attendees found their ways to the Goethe-institute in Sofia.
Balkaninvest Team in Aktion
Keep smiling: Our team in action.
Interviews mit Balkaninvest
Interviews with Balkaninvest