Bulgarians in the United Kingdom

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Bulgarians in the United Kingdom
Total population
Bulgarian-born residents
5,351 (2001 Census)
69,000 (2015 ONS estimate)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Southampton[1]
Bulgarian, English
Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Irreligion, Atheism
The Plovdiv Bulgarian Café in Haringey, London
Part of a series on
Coat of arms of Bulgaria
By country
Bulgarian citizens

Bulgarians in the United Kingdom include citizens of the United Kingdom who trace their Bulgarian ancestry. The number of Bulgarian-born people resident in the UK has risen from 5,351 at the time of the 2001 Census to an estimated 69,000 in 2015.

Since 1 January 2014, Bulgarians have freedom of movement and work in the United Kingdom as citizens of the European Union.


A true Bulgarian community in the United Kingdom was formed relatively recently as compared to Bulgarian communities in other countries in Western Europe. Few Bulgarian students enrolled at British universities before World War II; political and economic emigration was also scarce. It was only around 1944–1945 that a more apparent circle of Bulgarian political emigrants was formed in the United Kingdom.[1]

During the Cold War, when Bulgaria was a socialist state known as the People's Republic of Bulgaria (1944–1989), the Bulgarian community in the United Kingdom numbered some 3,000–4,000, mostly in England. Emigration to the United Kingdom was very active in the 1990s and 2000s. By 2000, the Bulgarian community numbered over 10,000 according to unofficial data. Other estimates from the early 21st century claim over 30,000 Bulgarians live permanently or temporarily (as students and workers) in the capital London alone.[1] The 2001 UK Census recorded 5,351 people born in Bulgaria.[2]

When Bulgaria joined the European Union in January 2007, the British government placed transitional restrictions on the rights of Bulgarians to move to the UK, which were subsequently extended and these transitional restrictions expired on 1 January 2014.[3] The Office for National Statistics estimates that 69,000 Bulgarian-born immigrants were resident in the UK in 2015.[4]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Колев, Йордан (2005). Българите извън България (in Bulgarian). София: Тангра ТанНакРа. pp. 273, 424. ISBN 954-9942-73-2.
  2. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 2015-06-27. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
  3. ^ "EU worker restrictions to remain". BBC News. 2007-10-30. Retrieved 2009-10-26.
  4. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2015 to December 2015". Office for National Statistics. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  5. ^ Инджов, Момчил; Свилен Кириловски (2005-10-22). "Фабиан Естояноф може да е българската следа на Мондиал`06" (in Bulgarian). Сега. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  • Ivancheva, M. 2007. Strawberry Fields Forever? Bulgarian and Romanian student workers in the UK. – Focaal – European Journal of Anthropology, 49 (2007), pp. 110–117 [1]
  • Maeva, M. Organizations and Institutions of Bulgarian Emigration in the United Kingdom – In: Karamihova, M. (ed.). European dimensions of Culture and History on the Balkans. Sofia: Paradigma, 2010, pp. 276–291 ISBN 978-954-326-134-5 [2]
  • Maeva, M Memories for Socialism into the Internet Forum of Bulgarian Emigrants in the United Kingdom – In: Wilson, P., P. McEntaggart. Navigating Landscapes of Mediated Memory. Oxford, Interdisciplinary Press, 2011, pp. 29–38 ISBN 978-1-84888-090-0 (https://www.interdisciplinarypress.net/online-store/ebooks/digital-humanities/navigating-landscapes-of-mediated-memory).
  • Maeva, M. Internet and Bulgarian Emigration to and in the Great Britain - Ethnologia Balkanica, 2011, vol. 15, publishing by International Association for Southeast European History (InASEA), Munich, pp. 349–362 OCLC 41714232 [3]
  • Maeva, M. Language as a Border: the Case of Bulgarian Emigrants in the UK – In: Hirstov, P (ed.). Migration and identity: Historical, Cultural and Linguistic Dimensions of Mobility on the Balkans. Sofia, Paradigma, 2012, 312-325 ISBN 9789543261673 [4]
  • Valkanova, Yordanka. 2009. Being a Rara Avis: Education Experiences of Bulgarian Children in Schools in London - In: Eade, John, Yordanka Valkanova (eds.) Accession and Migration: Changing Policy, Society and Culture in an Enlarged Europe. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 133–142 ISBN 978-0-7546-7503-7

External links[edit]