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Hungary Implements Strict Measures for Hiring Foreign Workers

Budapest Hungary parliament at night

Only as many foreign workers as are necessary will be admitted into the country, the State Secretary, Sandor Czomba, has informed, indicating stringent measures for workers from third countries that come to Hungary.

The State Secretary made these comments during a parliamentary debate on draft legislation for guest workers, and he pointed out that this proposal doesn’t aim to tone down the large influx of job seekers to Hungary but rather support the domestic workforce and create new employment opportunities, reports.

“The bill is also aimed to help retain the Hungarian workforce and create new jobs,” Czomba said.

Czomba also addressed concerns about potential job displacement, saying the bill is aimed at maintaining the country’s workforce, while Hungary, reportedly, is the country that hires the fewest foreign workers, especially compared to neighbouring countries of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Instead of bringing more foreign workers to Hungary, Czomba notes that the government is committed to satisfying the growing demand for labour with domestic employees, targeting those that are actively seeking employment, those aged between 25 and 65 years old, young mothers as well as underemployed, with workers from these categories contributing around 300,000 individuals to the labour market.

However, the state secretary emphasised that the country cannot afford to forgo investments due to a lack of available labour. The approach that the Hungarian government has is directed to job protection, stating that vacant positions should primarily be filled by Hungarians and EU nationals and the by neighbouring countries such as Ukraine and Serbia. Job seekers from third countries are the last option, and only within specific quotas that don’t threaten the domestic labour market.

On the other hand, if the proposed law for foreign workers is approved and voted on, workers from this category would be permitted to stay in Hungary for 180 days, instead of 90 days, provided they are actively employed.

According to About Hungary reveals that these measures have sparked criticism as well as support among Hungarians. Some argue that prioritising domestic workers is essential for the Hungarian labour market, while others believe that the proposed legislation may hinder businesses that depend on foreign workers and potentially impact the economic growth of the whole country.

Data by official Hungarian sites for work permits issued reveals that 430,000 foreigners are living in Hungary, with 161,000 of those having an EU registration card while another 162,000 have a Hungarian residence permit.