More than 80 thousand foreign workers were employed in Hungary in 2022, which is a new record. The war in Ukraine and the relaxed rules under EU guidance mean that guest workers from new countries are discovering the Hungarian market for themselves.
In 2022, the number of foreign employees in Hungary increased by 14 percent, to 81 thousand compared to the previous year, according to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH).
The number of Ukrainian workers increased most dramatically. However, this cannot be called organic growth, as most of them chose to work in Hungary after Russia invaded Ukraine. The number of them increased by 5200 – 24 percent in a year.
This was also signalled by a shift in nationalities in the second half of 2022. The share of employees from some non-EU countries, such as the Philippines and India, increased compared to 2021.
As we have previously written, the EU relaxed some of its requirements for foreign workers from non-EU countries to obtain work permits. The effect of this change can be seen in Hungarian data as well.
A previous estimate stated that 80-100 thousand people are missing from the Hungarian labour market. József Nógrádi, Commercial Director of Trenkwalder, told Portfolio that the entire competitive market is interested in foreign labour. Foreign workers are especially important for those firms that have already been hindered by labour shortages.
Filipino employees in need in Budapest
Portfolio reports that in the hospitality sector, the number of Filipino employees is constantly increasing. This sector was already suffering from a labour shortage before the pandemic. Thus, Filipino waiters, who speak good English, are well educated and reliable are popular among restaurants and cafes in Budapest.
Magdolna Mihályi, managing director of Jobtain HR Services also reported good experiences with Filipino workers, as they have practically zero turnover, they keep to their fixed contracts and commitments and complete the agreed period. She also received good references from the small number of Kyrgyz workers in Hungary.
The Hungarian government would like to see even more workers in the Hungarian labour market to keep the economic growth. They calculate that the Hungarian economy could sustain 500 thousand new employees.
Economy development ministry: Hungary needs some half a million new jobholders by 2030
Prospective investments that will ensure stable economic growth in Hungary require some half a million new jobholders during the period until 2030, the economic development ministry said on Tuesday. The country needs further investments for catching up in terms of economic growth which cannot be hindered by a shortage of labour, the ministry said in a statement.
A tool in ensuring adequate workforce is in boosting the economic activity of the Hungarian population and creating work opportunities for the unemployed, the ministry said, underscoring the need to train or teach new skills to the estimated pool of 300,000 people in labour reserve. Foreign workers may only be employed if vacant jobs cannot be filled with local workforce, it said, noting that compared with the other three Visegrád countries, Hungary employs the fewest foreign workers relative to the size of its labour market. Hungary applies a quota on foreign guest workers coming from non-EU member states with the aim to protect its domestic labour market.
The number of jobholders has been hovering around 4.7 million for more than six months in Hungary which has an unemployment rate well below the EU average. The number of employed has increased by 1 million since 2010 during which period the number of registered jobseekers has dropped by 400,000, the ministry said.
Well – at least these immigrants appear to be staying put in Hungary, instead of trying to escape to the wider EU.
Regarding the low unemployment rates – there’s a difference between having a job and earning a living wage. Due to our European Union countries beating inflation, many more people will slowly be slipping under the poverty line. Not sustainable.