The importation of foreign workers to Hungary may be tightened

By RockedBuzz 10 Min Read

The government would lay new foundations and tighten the legislation related to immigration and employment, at least that is what the announcement of the Ministry of Economic Development indicated last week. The announcement is also interesting because the law on foreign workers, adopted in June, would come into effect or would have come into effect in less than 1 month, at the beginning of November. However, according to GFM’s announcement, this is still to come.

For the time being, the managers of the companies we interviewed, which also deal with foreign recruitment, could only speculate about what changes might come into effect.

The employment of foreign guest workers is a very sensitive area among the population, and unfortunately there is a lot of disinformation on the subject

– replied to Portfolio’s inquiry Magdolna Mihályi, managing director of Jobtain HR Service Kft.

We believe that it is necessary to introduce a well-thought-out, all-encompassing, comprehensive regulation on this issue. Based on our information so far, no relief is expected, as there is no official announcement from the relevant organizations yet, he added.

“We have no information about the planned legal change from the beginning of November regarding the import of foreign workers. We are also just groping in the dark on this matter. We suspect that they want to tighten the requirements of companies specializing in recruitment and importation, because perhaps too many imported foreign workers have leaked from their workplaces in Hungary to other EU countries,” he responded. József Nógrádi, commercial director of Trenkwalder.

“It is suspected that some intermediary companies worked with inappropriate partners, and the imported foreign workforce was not properly screened. It is conceivable that they may also tighten the control of financial requirements for Hungarian recruitment companies. In this way, the government can try to soften the negative feelings about foreign workers, which have been growing stronger in Hungarian society in the past period,” he opined.

We can’t really talk about simplifications, but more about creating an even more regulated market

– added József Nógrádi, Trenkwalder’s commercial director.

They see that the basic trends of the past period have not changed. Although there are indeed more and more Filipino guest workers in Hungary, despite their popularity, they are still not the dominant force in the Hungarian market.

In the past year and a half, around 6,000 Filipino workers came to our country through qualified temporary employment agencies

– Magdolna Mihályi, managing director of Jobtain HR Service Kft., reported on the details.

Jobtain alone has provided job opportunities in Hungary to nearly 1,000 Filipino workers in the past year. Our company is preparing to employ another 150-200 people by the end of the year, he added. Based on our data, the turnover among the Filipinos we borrow is extremely low, only around 5 percent. It is interesting that, due to competition in the labor market, the level of turnover among Hungarians is much higher, in their case this number is many times higher.

So far, the employees of the Philippines seem to be the best fit for the domestic labor market among the employees of the selected countries, which is why many people like to employ them.

The knowledge of the English language, work experience, Christian values ​​and the partly resulting cultural fit are all factors that greatly facilitate their employment – József Nógrádi confirmed the positive experiences.

Of course, like other foreign workers, Filipinos also come for a fixed period of time, usually 2+1 years. “Their contract is expected to be fulfilled in 95 percent of cases. This is a great advantage for companies in terms of planability and capacity increase,” Magdolna Mihályi gave another important point.

“Of all the nations, their numbers are increasing the fastest. At the same time, their total number does not even reach 10,000 people. At the present moment, Filipino workers are roughly in 10th place in the ranking of foreign workers,” stressed József Nógrádi.

In addition to the neighboring Ukraine and Serbia, foreign workers came to Hungary from 15 other countries as part of a simplified procedure. All companies can borrow employees through an intermediary company with accelerated administration.

“This does not mean that a large number of workers come from all countries. According to the regulations, only the number of workers from third countries allowed by the predetermined quota can be brought in,” said Magdolna Mihályi. Based on the favorable experiences of the past year, we expect that the human resources missing from the domestic market will be replaced in large numbers from 2-3 areas. He highlighted:

In addition to the Filipinos, Kyrgyz and Indonesians have the greatest chance for this, in their case we expect greater growth in employment in Hungary

“In addition to the 15 countries indicated, it is of course possible to bring in workers from almost any country in the world, but it is much more difficult, as they will not fall under the classic guest worker law. In such cases, typically due to some special knowledge, the given company employs foreign workers directly and only occasionally engages a rental company”, József Nógrádi added to the picture.

According to him, it is important to make people aware that the import of foreign labor is the final solution to a protracted problem, which is characteristic not only of Hungary, but of the entire European Union.

Mostly for those countries where the market is as tight as in Hungary. As an example, he mentioned that domestic companies have spent many billions of HUF in recent years on advertisements and various service providers, who also invested a lot, and still could not fill the missing positions. The use of foreign guest workers was clearly brought about by market pressure.

According to labor market experts, it is also a big problem that in recent years, certain layers of employees got used to the fact that there was always an employer who paid more, and because of this, they immediately changed if the wage was a few thousand forints higher somewhere. Because of this, the companies continuously provided training, but they could not deal with the turnover of the staff. József Nógrádi explained the companies’ motivations: “In order to stop this negative process, they created a fixed staff for themselves, for which the foreign workforce is an excellent solution, which cannot go anywhere because of the new law.”

Of course, the attitude of Hungarian workers may change due to the more difficult economic situation, if the planned industrial investments are fulfilled, even then the domestic labor reserve will not be able to meet the labor needs of companies established in Hungary or planning to invest here.

“In the next two years, approximately 500,000 new workers will be needed, only a part of this – according to our forecast, approximately 100-150,000 people – can be secured from domestically,” said Magdolna Mihályi. Hungarian workers may also come from countries in the region. However, in order to keep Hungarian jobs, it is essential to bring in foreign workers in the short term. This is the only way to ensure that investments and developments continue and are implemented, and that the work of Hungarian employees is not endangered. For investments with a high number of employees, the presence of foreign workers is necessary to start production and increase productivity, he added.

We consider it very important to properly prepare not only the employing company for the import of foreign workers, but also the community of the settlement where these workers go to work or where they live.

– pointed out the manager of Jobtain HR Szolgáltató Kft.

“Guest workers apply for jobs, jobs that are not filled, and they come here to support their families. This is why they want to work and not settle down. They cannot take the position they did not fill. The company wants to finally fill the position that is filled on Monday, but is empty again on Friday, and has been like this for 2 years now, with permanent people”, concluded József Nógrádi.

Cover image source: Getty Images

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