Access to the labour market
Refugees and persons with subsidiary protection have access to the labour market under the same conditions as Hungarian citizens. This means that no labour market test is applicable regarding the employment of beneficiaries. There is only one provision established in the Asylum Act, which makes a difference as to beneficiaries of international protection. According to the Asylum Act, beneficiaries may not take up a job or hold an office or position, which is required by law to be fulfilled by a Hungarian citizen. Typically, the positions of public servant and civil servant demand Hungarian citizenship.
There is no statistical data available on the employment of beneficiaries, thus the effectiveness of their access to employment in practice cannot be measured. In practice, the main obstacle beneficiaries of international protection have to upon searching a job is the Hungarian language. There is no special existing state support for obtaining employment. Beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to use the services of the National Labour Office under the same condition as Hungarian citizens, even though it is hard to find an English-speaking case officer.
In practice, having recognised that the absence of social capital and the knowledge of local language and culture pose major challenges for beneficiaries seeking jobs, as in the case of housing, NGOs fill in the role of the state in this sector as well.
Even though the “MentoHRing” programme of the Menedék Association terminated with the end of the AMIF funding in June 2018, the organisation still had certain activities regarding the facilitation of job finding for beneficiaries of international protection in 2019.
The Maltese Care Nonprofit Ltd. services (individual labour market counselling, labour market training and personalized help with job seeking) targeted beneficiaries of international protection regarding job finding in 2018 within their project, called “Jobs for you”. However, in 2019, the focus of the program changed, the target group was limited and despite that the theoretical possibility, there was no beneficiary of international protection recorded among those having received the services. The organisation would again broaden the program’s target group in case a grant from AMIF was available.
Kalunba has a coaching programme within which similarly to 2018 (as of June 2018) it supported in the last year approximately 40 persons. The program entails job market counselling and mentoring.
Those who were supported by BMSZKI in 2018 within the housing programme also had access to the services of the Job seekers’ Office. The social workers also cooperated with the Maltese Care.
Reportedly, due to language and cultural barriers access to employment is limited to certain sectors such as physical labour (as working in construction, storage etc.) and hospitality. The average working hours are 12 hours per day (although in many cases they are provided only with a part-time contract), which renders integration of beneficiaries more difficult, since they have no free time besides work. There are no criteria stressed out in law to assess levels of professional education and skills. Assessment guidelines for cases where documentary evidence from the country of origin is unavailable either. This is confirmed by the experiences of Menedék, according to which the lack of proper certification of education or trainings completed by refugees or persons with subsidiary protection often results in undertaking employment for they are overqualified. It is also important to note that employers usually treat beneficiaries of international protection less favourably than Hungarian citizens and they often lack trust towards foreigners. As for the Baptist Integration Centre, employment experiences for beneficiaries was diverse in 2019. Whereas there were cases without any difficulties regarding employment, there was one case recorded where the employer withdrew the job offer after having heard that the job-seeker is a refugee.
See the general right to equal treatment in Section 10(1) Asylum Act.
Section 10(2)(b) Asylum Act.
Information provided by the Employment Department of Budapest Government Office, 14 March 2018.
Wolffhardt et al. 2019, 104.