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Hungary Changes Immigration Law. Residence Permit in 2024: What Are the Options?

Hungary's immigration laws are changing

As of January 1, 2024, Hungary's immigration law has changed.

The new requirements for visas and residence permits have become stricter.

Labour migration in particular has come under the spotlight, with a much reduced list of jobs that can be used for getting a residence permit.

This is due to increased unemployment and inflation in 2023.

Changes in Hungary's immigration law do not bode well for immigrant workers, as the government is significantly reducing the list of positions that foreigners were previously able to apply for.

Reuters reports that more than 300 jobs are now unavailable to people from outside the EU.

Previously, the conditions for issuing work visas or residence permits in Hungary were friendly to immigrants.

One could apply for status under simple conditions and was free to renew that status upon expiration.

Many people chose Hungary because the country provided the opportunity for family reunification program.

Now, it is impossible to apply if the immigrant status is based on employment.

Is it possible to get a Hungarian residence permit in 2024?

It is not claimed that the residence permit has been completely revoked. It is only claimed that the requirements have changed.

Those who already hold the residence permit will retain it until it expires.

Others who are awaiting a decision will most likely get rejected and will have to start the procedure all over again, according to the new rules.

In this case, immigrants will be able to submit a new application only after February 29, as at the moment their admission is suspended.

Subsequent renewal of residence permits for those who already have this status will be subject to the new requirements for all without exception.

According to the new policy, Hungary is only interested in highly skilled personnel. An immigrant must be highly qualified, be a participant in an investment project, a guest seasonal worker or have a special research permit. 

After the changes in Hungary's immigration legislation, the country began to look less attractive for relocation, especially for those who wanted to immigrate for employment.

According to the new requirements, foreigners with special skills will be able to get the status. But for ordinary workers, the country will not be the best place to immigrate.

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Changes in business immigration

Previously, entrepreneurs could relocate their business or expand it and on this basis obtain a residence permit with the prospect of permanent residence.

Since 2024, the procedure has been tightened and is now available under the Guest Self-Employment program.

The conditions imply high qualifications of the owner or CEO of the enterprise, in addition to assessing the usefulness of the business for the Hungarian economy. It is obvious that not every business will meet the country's requirements.

Immigration to Hungary: what else has changed?

In order to renew a residence permit, you must now apply 40 days prior to its expiration.

Previously, this could be done 90 days before its expiration.

Applications for residence permits as of 2024 will be available only to certain categories. At the same time, not all the programs imply the prospect of obtaining a residence permit. 

Immigrants who have lived in Hungary for a sufficient number of years on previous permits are likely to be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

But most migrant workers who plan to apply for a residence permit in Hungary under the new rules, will not be able to apply for permanent residence in the future.

Those who have a Blue Card and Hungarian Card will be an exception. 

It is probably worth considering other EU countries, which offer more affordable immigration opportunities with the prospect of obtaining a more secure status.

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