• Combined Work and Residence Permits, Other Reforms Implemented
  • January 14, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Hungary implemented a single combined work and residence permit system for third-country nationals on January 1, 2014, as required by an EU directive. The new system has resulted in numerous procedural and substantive changes that will impact employers and their foreign workers, including new filing procedures, forms, supporting document requirements, and expected application processing times.

    The Combined Permit

    Visa and non-visa nationals seeking to work in Hungary for more than 90 days should now submit a single residence permit application to the Immigration Office. Once granted, a residence permit includes permission to work in Hungary.

    Employers that are majority foreign-owned remain subject to a five percent limit on the foreign to local worker ratio for their workforce, and holders of the new combined permits will count towards the five percent.

    Employers should expect the total processing time for the new combined permits to be at least 90 days. This is slightly longer than the two to three-month processing times under the prior system. Third-country nationals may not work in Hungary until their residence permit is granted, even if they remain on a foreign payroll.

    Residence permits are granted for a maximum duration of up to two years and may be extended indefinitely in two-year increments.

    In addition to visa and non-visa nationals seeking to work in Hungary, the new combined permit processing system also applies to applicants for Blue Cards, residence permits granted to executive officers and enterprise stakeholders, family unification residence permits, and residence permits granted for humanitarian purposes.

    Combined Permit Not Required for Short-Term Work

    Work assignments of 90 days or less do not require a residence permit. Instead, sponsoring employers should submit a Work Force Demand and work permit application together. The documents should be filed with the employer’s regional or metropolitan labor office if all supporting documentation is available when filing, or to the local or district labor office if not. Processing for these applications is expected to be 30 days, with potentially longer processing times for incomplete applications.

    What This Means for Employers

    It is too early to predict the long-term effects of the new combined permit system for employers; but in the immediate future, employers should expect processing delays and complications as government officials assume new roles and familiarize themselves with new application forms and procedures. In addition, although the new application forms have been released, the Hungarian government has not provided explanatory notes or guidelines on how the documents should be completed.