SOFIA: Bulgaria's parliament amended on Wednesday parts of a new law offering citizenship to foreign investors, watering down some of the permanent residency requirements after the president vetoed them.
Citizenship in Bulgaria opens a door to parts of western Europe.
The law, which was initially adopted by parliament last November, offered Bulgarian citizenship to any foreign investor willing to pour one million leva (510,000 euros, $689,000) into the country's ailing economy.
The economy has suffered from a slump in foreign direct investments.
Apart from the investment, the applicant had to be a permanent resident for at least a year -- a status which in itself required an investment of at least four million leva in a Bulgarian company which opened 50 jobs.
Parliament changed the permanent residency requirements on Wednesday, significantly lowering the investment sums for several different categories of applicants.
Under the new regulations, permanent residency will be granted to anyone who invested 600,000 leva in Bulgarian property, 500,000 leva in a company that opened at least 10 jobs or 250,000 leva in a firm that opened five jobs in an economically underdeveloped region.
Former communist Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 as its poorest member, and is not a member of the eurozone.
Its citizens are however free to travel in the visa-free European Schengen area and to work in a number of sectors in western Europe, even though Bulgaria is not a member of the 26-nation zone.
Foreign direct investment, which used to be a major driver behind the country's economy had slumped from 6.55 billion euros in 2008 to 1.75 billion euros in 2011 and an expected 1.7 to 2.0 billion euros in 2012, latest data by the investment agency showed.