AGENCIES RAISE THEIR FEES FOR MEDIATION IN GETTING EMPLOYMENT ABROAD
ILLEGAL WEBSITES POFITEER FROM PROMISES FOR WORK IN OTHER COUNTRIESThe agencies that mediate in finding emeployment abroad will soon raise the fees for their services, Mladen Nedkov, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Information Agencies, announced. Twenty two of all 60 firms, licensed for such operation, are members of the association. The hike is expected immediately after the Amendments to the Act on Promotion of Employment, approved by Parliament on March 3, 2003, are published in the Official Gazette. The draft is presently with the President.The amendments stipulate that in addition to the license fees, the mediators will be also paying taxes on each individual contract signed with their clients for work abroad. According to Mr. Nedkov, this will lead to an increase of the fees charged by agencies from their clients. As a result of the hike employment abroad will become unaffordable for most of the Bulgarians, for whom this is the last resort for earning a living for their families. Under the projected amendments, the amounts collected by the mediators won't go as direct proceeds into the budget, but will be deposited in an account of the Employment Agency. This will be a violation of the Act on the Structure of the State Budget, Mario Almaleh, a member of the association's Management Board commented. He qualified that as an attempt to evade the requirement for closing the off-budget accounts.It is not yet clear how much the licnsed agencies should pay for each contrcat they sign with their clients. The amendments stipulate that the amounts shall be specified as per the Council of Ministers' tariff on fees and taxes. According to inofficial information, they will be in the range of BGN400-600. Thus, BGN500,000-plus will be collected from the licensed mediators, and unrealized forex proceeds will exceed USD1.5MN, the association's Chief Secretary Srbrin Iliev told the BANKER weekly. In his opinion, the new taxes to be charged by mediators will force at least half of them to stop operation. Unlicensed firms and the 20 websites which do not have licences for such operation either will take advantage of that situation. According to expert evaluations, the websites' proceeds from such activities in 2002 (for which they have not paid taxes) exceeds BGN2MN.
At the meeting with President Georgi Purvanov on Monday (March 17) the Association of Licensed Information Agencies will ask the Head of State him to put a veto on the Act on Promotion of Employment and return it to Parliament for a new discussion. Members of the association warned they would lay an appeal against the amendments to the Constitutional Court if the President does not veto the draft.