Hungary to limit visas for temporary workers from outside the EU

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary will limit the number of visas issued to temporary workers from outside the European Union and also ban them from certain professions in a bid to protect local jobs, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government will issue a maximum of 65,000 visas for temporary workers from countries outside the EU, the ministry said in a statement. Last year, 39,000 temporary worker visas were issued, below a maximum set out by an earlier decree, it said.

Faced with a heavy election calendar, Orban is under pressure to revive economic growth following an inflation-induced downturn in 2023. His hard line on immigration has helped the nationalist leader win support during previous elections.

Orban’s government also compiled a list of some 300 jobs that workers from outside the EU will not be allowed to take, including vineyard and orchard worker, photographer, legal aide, roofer and elevator mechanic.

“The government will protect Hungarian families and jobs, which means that by law, it is only possible to hire foreign workers if there are no Hungarian workers to fill the vacancies,” the statement says.

Hungary’s rolling three-month unemployment rate was 4.3% in the September-November period.

(Reporting by Anita Komuves; Editing by Bernadette Baum)