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How does the new immigration bill affect employment of foreigners in Hungary

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How does the new immigration bill affect employment of foreigners in Hungary

The government has recently proposed a reform to immigration law in Hungary. While the Parliament is still debating the proposal, nothing is final, and experts and market players are also being consulted in on the topic. We at Helpers have reliable sources to keep an eye on the developments and will continue to keep you updated.

New residency options for third-country nationals

The current version of the proposal has the biggest effect on third-country nationals already living in or planning to move to Hungary, alongside their (prospective) employers. The bill introduces new categories and some of these are not yet entirely worked out. As it looks now, the following types of residency would become available instead of the current ones:

1. Guest worker permit

This is designed for jobs that do not need special qualifications, with a special focus on projects where an investor brings in a great number of foreign workers to implement a project (e.g. building factories). The main modification compared to the regular work permit available currently is that the guest worker permit can be given only for 3 years total (for 2 years first, with an option for a 1-year extension), and family unification is not available. This type of permit is mainly intended for blue collar (manual) workers, although in the current bill it appears to include some office workers with lower qualifications – but this will almost certainly be fixed in the final version.

2. Magyar Kártya (“Hungarian Card”)

This is a new category designed for highly qualified employees in white-collar jobs, especially in executive positions (including owner/CEOs of Hungarian companies) and holding relevant college or university degrees. It will be valid for 3 years, but it can be extended for another 3 years each time it expires. Family unification is available.

3. EU Blue Card

Since this category is harmonized all over the EU, its conditions remain the same. It is available to highly qualified employees and lets holders stay anywhere in the EU. It can be granted for 2-4 years, and it can be extended by another 4 years each time. Family unification is available.

4. Vállalati Kártya (“Corporate Card”)

This option is very close to the current gainful activity (i.e. business owner) permit, as it pertains to the executive officers of companies newly set up in Hungary, including business ventures expanding into Hungary. However, it also seems to include other employees to such companies. The conditions on which businesses will be eligible for this type of permit are still unclear; follow us for updates. The card can be granted for 4 years, and can be extended for another 4 years each time it expires. Family unification is available.

5. Intra-corporate transfer

This type of residency seems to remain the same as presently. In this case, the employee comes to work to Hungary at a branch of their original, foreign employer, and they continue to remain on payroll at the parent company. The permit will be valid for at most 3 years, and can be extended only once, for an additional 3 years. Family unification is available.

Debate ongoing regarding the proposal

In its current state, the biggest concern regarding the new immigration bill is that it does not consider employees who have special skills but not formal qualifications. Such employees can include professionals with certain specific language skills, or experts who gained their skills not through formal education but through years of work in the field. At present, these employees are not included in the “Hungarian Card” (i.e. highly qualified) category but are also clearly not manual / unqualified workers since they fill positions that do require skills or knowledge (although not necessarily in the form of a university degree).

These concerns are currently debated not only in Parliament, but also in the press, with experts weighing in on the topic and calling attention to the weak points of the proposal, where an amendment will be necessary. Helpers has also been consulted on these issues, both by officials and by the press, and we are following the developments daily.

Watch this space to stay informed about the potential changes and their implications, and to get an insight into Hungary’s evolving immigration landscape.

The post How does the new immigration bill affect employment of foreigners in Hungary appeared first on HELPERS.

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