According to, guest workers earned 30% more last year than the year prior. Meanwhile, labour shortages have increased across the country as 200,000 job vacancies were not filled.

Based on the latest figures from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), guest workers earned an unprecedented total of €845m in 2018, which is a 30% increase compared to the previous year.

In 2018, 49,699 migrants were granted work visas. Extrapolating from historical trends, it is predicted that that this number has risen to around 75,000 this year.

These guest workers earn as much as Hungarians, however, they cost more to employ as they are provided services – such as health care and accommodation – by their employers.

Hungary is increasingly relying on guest workers due to labour shortages. Indeed, this year 200,000 to 250,000 job openings were left unfilled. Earlier this year, we wrote that a third of students studying at Hungarian universities are planning to settle abroad permanently.

With an increasing labour shortage and Hungarians planning their futures in Western Europe, migrants may be the only answer to continue to support the Hungarian economy.

However, the Hungarian government is maintaining its position on the migration question. As we reported this week, they continue to reject the European Union’s quota system to resettle migrants and refugees across Europe. The government is continuing to provide financial support to families in an attempt to encourage childbearing. The success of this programme can only realistically be judged when in the next few decades these children grow up and enter the labour market.

Nonetheless, if the government wants to pursue its anti-immigration policies, it needs to entice Hungarians living abroad to come home.



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