SOFIA, Bulgaria—When Nicko Aleksiev still left this town for France, in 2011, he didn’t count on he would at any time live in Bulgaria once again.

But just after the pandemic hit, Mr. Aleksiev was laid off, and—like tens of hundreds of other international staff in Western Europe—he headed household in June 2020. Now, just after much more than a calendar year in this article, he has a position in Sofia and no intention of going overseas once again.