Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 30/11/20


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As a result of the rules applicable in times of state of crisis due to mass migration, asylum seekers have no longer access to the labour market. [1]  They are neither entitled to work in the premises of the reception centres nor at any other work place. This regulation is clearly in violation of Article 15 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive. Furthermore, it was introduced with an ex tunc effect, thus it is applicable also in cases that had started prior to the adoption of the amendment (see the 2018 AIDA report).

This provision was amended with the effect of January 2019 in a way that currently it applies exclusively to those staying in the transit zones. In contrast to that, applicants staying at private accommodation have again the right to work after 9 months have passed by since the start of their procedure. In practice, however, Menedék Association reports that the modification did not result in a real change, since employers are not willing to offer jobs to people in possession of a residence permit (i.e. humanitarian residence permit) with a 2-3-month-long definite time of validity.[2]

According to the regulations in force prior to March 2017,[3] asylum seekers were able to undertake employment in the premises of the reception centre, without obtaining a work permit. After 9 months from the start of the asylum procedure could asylum seekers also work outside the centres, in accordance with the general rules applicable to foreigners. In this case, the employer had to request a work permit – valid for 1 year and renewable – from the local employment office. Asylum seekers could only apply for jobs, which were not taken by Hungarians or nationals of the European Economic Area.

[1]           Section 80/J (4) Asylum Act

[2]           I.e. the humanitarian residence permit is prolonged every 2-3 months with further 2-3 months.

[3]           Section 5(1)(c) Asylum Act.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation