There is no official statistics about the number of the “new Bulgarian emigrants” who left this country after 1989. Their number perhaps fluctuates between 1 and 1.5 million. Most of the Bulgarian emigrants settled in North America and the EU member states- Greece, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, etc. Anyway, they are quite numerous, taking into consideration the fact that nearly 7 million people live in Bulgaria now. Almost all Bulgarian nationals who left their home country are economic emigrants, i.e. they emigrated abroad in search of a better pay and higher life standard for themselves and their relatives who still live in Bulgaria. That is why, each year the Bulgarian emigrants send a lot of money to their country. In 2017 the money wired by Bulgarian emigrants to their country amounted to EUR 1.15 billion, preliminary data of the Bulgarian National Bank shows. It turns out that each Bulgarian emigrant sends an average of EUR 1,000 to Bulgaria only. This is so, because, most of the economic migrants are low educated and qualified people who are employed at low-paid and less prestigious positions which are not that attractive for the locals. Of course, there are Bulgarian emigrants who are employed at prestigious and well-paid job positions as well.
Anyway, the new Bulgaria diaspore retains its relationship with its country due to the financial assistance provided to their relatives in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian emigrants send money to their country on a regular basis and the amount of the money wired from Bulgarian emigrants has been constantly increasing. Last year the Bulgarian emigrants sent EUR 284 million more as compared to 2016. This was nearly the amount send before the global economic and financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. On the other hand, the foreign direct investments in Bulgaria have been constantly dwindling. In 2017 the FDIs in Bulgaria amounted to EUR 902 million only, whereas in the years preceding the world economic crisis they amounted to EUR 8-9 billion. Thus, it turned out that the Bulgarian emigrants are now the biggest investors in this country. This money is mainly used for consumption and cannot be vied as productive capital. However, local consumption was among the main factors that contributed to last year’s economic growth. In other words, the money of the Bulgarian emigrants also contributes to the positive development of the Bulgarian economy and is even used by some beneficiaries to start a small private business.
The constantly increasing amount of money sent by Bulgarian emigrants cannot replace the foreign investments which have dwindled in the recent years, yet the life standard of most Bulgarian families (as there are economic emigrants in 50% of the Bulgarian families) is now higher thanks to these money transfers. The Bulgarian National Bank monitors the money sent through banks and companies for money transfers. The official statistics does not include the money carried in Bulgaria in cash or in valuable items which according to some financial experts amount to hundreds of millions of Euros per year.
English version: Kostadin Atanasov
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