Types of accommodation

Bulgaria

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Reception centres are managed by the SAR. Alternative accommodation outside the reception centres is allowed under the law, but only if it is paid for by the asylum seekers themselves and if they have consented to waive their right to the monthly social allowance.1

As of the end of 2017, there are 4 reception centres in Bulgaria. The total capacity as of 31 December 2017 is as follows:

Reception centre

Location

Capacity

Occupancy end 2017

Sofia

Sofia

2,030

568

Ovcha Kupel shelter

 

860

241

Vrazhdebna shelter

 

370

178

Voenna Rampa shelter

 

800

149

Banya

Central Bulgaria

70

88

Pastrogor

South-Eastern Bulgaria

320

11

Harmanli

South-Eastern Bulgaria

2,710

272

Total

 

5,130

939

Source: Ministry of Interior. Note that the occupancy rate includes the closed centre in “3rd Block” in Busmantsi, which is a closed centre.

939 asylum seekers resided in reception centres as of the end of 2017.

Wherever possible, there is a genuine effort to accommodate nuclear families together and in separate rooms. Single asylum seekers are accommodated together with others, although conditions vary considerably from one centre to another. Some of the shelters are used for accommodation predominantly of a certain nationality or nationalities. For example, Vrazhdebna shelter in Sofia accommodates predominantly Syrians, Voenna Rampa shelter in Sofia accommodates almost exclusively Afghan and Pakistani asylum seekers, while the other reception centres accommodate mixed nationalities, such as in Harmanli reception centre, Banya reception centre and Ovcha Kupel shelter in Sofia.

Asylum seekers are allowed to reside outside the reception centres at so called “external addresses”. This could be done if asylum seekers submit a formal waiver from their right to accommodation and social assistance, as warranted by law, and declare to cover rent and other related costs at their own expenses.2 Except those few whose financial condition allows residence outside the reception centres, the other group of people who live at external addresses are usually Dublin returnees, to whom the SAR applies the exclusion from social benefits, including accommodation, as a measure of sanction within the jurisdiction for such decision as provided by the law (see Withdrawal of Reception Conditions).3 As of 31 December 2017 only 323 asylum seekers lived outside the reception centres under the conditions as described above.4

  • 1. Article 29(6) LAR.
  • 2. Article 29(9) LAR; Article 29(1)(2) LAR.
  • 3. Article 29(4) LAR.
  • 4. Ministry of Interior, Migration statistics, 31 December 2017.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti