According to KSH (Central Statistical Office), in proportion, the percentage of working immigrants living in Hungary is higher than the percentage of working Hungarian residents. The office’s report revealed that approximately 60.000 immigrants were living in Hungary in early 2014, and this number is likely to grow further, writes.

Before the refugee crisis broke out, Hungary provided shelter for approximately 60.000 immigrants, who did not come from a country which is part of the European Union, and lived here for a longer period of time. A study was conducted by KSH last spring and it revealed that Hungary actually greatly benefited from the situation, as refugees are much younger, better educated, and economically more active than average Hungarians.

Most of the immigrants have come from China, Ukraine, and Russia, and 40% of them have been living in Hungary for less than five years, but more than 40% said that they have been living in the country for more than a decade. This tendency is likely to continue, as many of the immigrants have chosen to come to Hungary because they had family and friends here. Almost 2/3 of them immigrated to Hungary to work, or to reunite with the family, and 1/4 of them came here to study.

As many foreign students stay in Hungary after they finished their studies here, it is understandable that most of the immigrants are well educated (48% of them have some kind of degree in higher education while this number is only 20% among Hungarians). According to KSH, the economic activity of 15-74 year old immigrants (the ratio of employment and unemployment) is 2 percentage points higher than the Hungarians’: the activity of immigrant men is 4 percentage points above Hungarians, and immigrant women’s activity is 2 percentage points below the Hungarian average. Also, their unemployment rate is lower than permanent Hungarian residents’.

The integration of immigrants, however trained they are, cannot go smoothly. Although 55% of them has a job that requires higher education (while only 1/3 of Hungarians work in such positions), a lot more immigrants are self-employed. Self-employment meets their needs either because it’s more accepted in their culture, or they work in retail or provide different services, or because they have less chance to be employed despite of their education.

According to, one in five immigrants works in an occupation which requires a lower level of education they actually have and 15% consider themselves overqualified, while it’s only true for 8.4% of the Hungarians.

According to the answers collected by KSH immigrants are mostly hindered in getting a job that needs higher education because of their lack of Hungarian language skills (31%), because they are racially or religiously discriminated (24%), some of them had some legal impediment (7%), or because the Hungarian authorities were not able to accept their qualifications (2% of the immigrants). 10% marked other obstacles, and ¼ haven’t had any problems.

Copy editor: bm


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