Third country nationals on the hungarian labor market

The employment of a third-country national in Hungary is subject to a work permit, except as provided by law. The proper residence permit usually must be requested by the future employer or the hosting entity from the competent government office.

It is a general condition that the third-country national has to have the necessary expertise and qualifications.

Quantitative restrictions regarding work permits

There is an annual limit on the maximum number of work permits issuable, which number is specified by the Hungarian Minister of Finance and published in the attachment of the Official Gazette (Magyar Közlöny). For 2019 the Hungarian Minister of Finance announced that the maximum number of third-country nationals who might be employed in Hungary with work permit shall be 57,000 in 2019. In the previous two years the numbers where 59,000 in 2017 and 55,000 in 2018. The decreasing numbers does not imply reduced labor demand rather correlates to the fact that the scope of exemptions in regard of obligation to acquire work permit expanded.

Work related residence permit categories

  1. Residence permit for the purpose of gainful activity may be issued if the purpose of residence is to lawfully perform work in a self-employed capacity for remuneration or to engage – save where the previous case applies – in any gainful activity in the capacity of being the executive officer of a for-profit business association, cooperative or some other legal entity. In the second case if the third-country national wishes to perform work apart from the scope of activities in that position the application to be submitted is for the purpose of employment.

This type of residence permit may be issued for three years maximum and it can be extended by three additional years at a time.

  1. Residence permit for the purpose of employment may be issued if the purpose of residence is to perform work for or under the direction and/or supervision of others, for remuneration, under contract for employment relationship or who performs work as the owner or executive officer of a for-profit business association, cooperative or some other legal entity, in addition to the work actually performed in that capacity.
  2. Residence permit for the purpose of seasonal employment may be issued if the purpose of residence is to perform seasonal work. According to the Government Decree 445/2013 (XI. 28.) seasonal work is an activity performed in agricultural sectors of employment. Agriculture covers the crop production, forestry, farming and fishing sectors, where the work is typically linked to a period or date of the year.

This type of residence permit may not be issued for more than six months within a period of twelve months.

  1. Residence permit for the purpose of intra-corporate transfer may be issued if the purpose of residence is to perform work within the same company or company group where the third country national already has a valid contract. In case of executive employees, specialists and trainee employees at least three months of continuous employment preceding the date of the intra-corporate transfer is required.

This type of residence permit may be issued for one year or for the duration of the transfer, whichever is the shortest. In case of executive employees and specialists, the maximum period of validity of the residence permit is three years, in case of trainee employees this period is one year and the permit can be extended only within this period of time.

  1. Residence permit for the purpose of research may be issued if the purpose of residence is to carry out research under a hosting agreement with an eligible organization. The accredited research organizations are listed on the website of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office. The organization has financial responsibility in case of expulsion if the researcher does not have the financial means necessary.

This type of residence permit may be issued for at least one year or in case the validity of the hosting agreement is less than a year, the period of validity of the permit shall correspond to that. It may be extended by a maximum of two years at a time.

  1. Residence permit for the purpose of job-searching or entrepreneurship may be issued in case of a valid residence permit for the purpose of research or studies in the applicant is able to prove the completion of the said activity.

The maximum period for this residence permit may be issued is nine months and

  1. Residence Permit for the Purpose of Traineeship may be issued if the purpose of residence is to join a training program for the purpose of gaining practice. The applicant shall hold a degree of higher education obtained within the two years preceding the date of application or pursuing a course of study that leads to a higher education degree and have sufficient knowledge of the language needed. A signed training agreement with an approved entity hosting trainees. Specified government entities, ecclesiastical legal entities and business associations in possession of signed partnership agreement with the Government may function as an entity hosting trainees.

Exemptions from the work permit requirement

As of 2016, it is not required to obtain a work permit for the employment of Ukrainian and Serbian citizens in those professions where there is a shortage of workforce, but this is not the only case where the application procedure is avoidable. Section 15 of the Government Decree 445/2013 (XI.28.) provides a long list of provisions on exemptions from work permit requirement relating to the employment of third-country nationals in Hungary. For example, there is no need for a work permit

  • for the director of a branch office of a foreign-registered business association for the scope of work described by international agreement
  • for carrying out work that involves commissioning, warranty repair, maintenance or guarantee service activities performed on the basis os a private contract with a business entity established in a third country with the time limit of fifteen days
  • in some cases of manpower leasing
  • for chief executives and supervisory board members of business associations with foreign participation.

Exemptions can be determined by international agreements, acts and governments decrees. Location of the company, international programs, nature of studies, family relations, profession and diplomatic relations among other facts can lay the foundation for exemption from obligation to acquire a work permit.

Do you have any question regarding employment in Hungary or are you interested in what obligations do you have if you are exempt work permit requirement? Do not hesitate to contact us!

Disclaimer: We provide our services in accordance with the Hungarian and European laws in effect. We assist our clients only in lawful entry and residency in Hungary and we do not support illegal immigration.

Dobos István attorney at law (ügyvéd; Budapest)/ Kőhidi Ákos attorney at law (ügyvéd; Győr) / Laczó Barbara

E: office@doboskohidi.eu

Phone / Whatsapp: +36303088151 / + 36305866162

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