In 2021, 44 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in Hungary (excluding EU citizens), -0.4% compared to 2020. This figure comprises 72.5% labour migrants, 6.6% family members (including accompanying family), 14.3% who came for education reasons and 6.5% other migrants. In addition, Hungary received 13 000 immigrants benefitting from free mobility. Around 3 300 short-term permits were issued to international students and 7 200 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 38 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2021, a 30% increase compared to 2020. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

Ukraine, Germany and the Slovak Republic were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Ukraine registered the strongest increase (+6 500) and the Slovak Republic the largest decrease (-3 500) in flows to Hungary compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 13%, to reach around 45. The majority of applicants came from Afghanistan (15), Iran (5) and Russia (5). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Afghanistan (+10) and the largest decrease nationals of Iran (-5). Of the 40 decisions taken in 2022, 75% were positive.

Emigration of Hungarian citizens to OECD countries stayed at a similar level as the previous year in 2021, counting 39 00. Approximately 37% of this group migrated to Germany, 25% to Austria and 9% to the Netherlands.

On 1 January 2022, Hungary introduced a digital nomad visa called the “White Card”, a new residence permit type that allows third-country nationals to enter and reside in Hungary without the requirement of local sponsorship. To be eligible, permit holders must be in a verified employment relationship with an employer in a country other than Hungary or have an ownership share in a company outside Hungary. In either case, the nature of the permit holder’s work must involve digital technology. The permit does not allow access to the Hungarian labour market. The permit is valid for a maximum of one year and may be extended once, for the same purpose and up to one additional year.

As Hungary’s official “state of danger” owing to the COVID-19 pandemic ended in June 2022, pandemic-related temporary measures in immigration also came to an end. In 2020, the validity period of issued residence documents, permanent residence and immigration permits (except for short-term visas and entry visas for receiving a residence permit) were automatically extended. In January 2022, the administration announced that residence documents expiring on or before 28 February 2022 would be valid until 30 June 2022, while permits expiring on or after 1 March 2022 would no longer be automatically extended.

From 1 January 2023, a large part of the immigration process was moved online. This includes a wide range of permit types concerning both EEA and non-EEA nationals, as well as extensions of residence permits and notifications of place of accommodation. Further, from 1 January 2023, Hungarian consulates will only accept invitation letters issued by a host company/person, while invitation letters issued by the immigration office will no longer be accepted.

On 10 November 2022, citing pressure on the asylum reception system and high migratory pressure at the EU’s external borders and security concerns, Austria issued regulation by which land traffic at the Austrian-Hungarian internal EU border would be required to use border crossing points until 11 May 2023. The temporary reintroduction of border controls on the Austrian-Hungarian land border has since been extended until 11 November 2023.

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