EU Blue Card

EU Blue Card – new rules from 2024

In order to attract highly qualified workers, the Hungarian government has refined the EU Blue Card regulation. The new Hungarian immigration law effective from 2024 has amended the regulation on permit type in line with EU directives, which will allow EU Blue Card holders to enjoy significant benefits. In our article we summarize all the important information about this type of residence permit.

What is the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card is a type of permit specifically for highly qualified workers, the details of which are regulated by an EU directive. The directive aims to make it easier for professionals from outside the EU to work in Europe and to facilitate the circulation of expertise within the EU.

The EU directive sets out common objectives in general terms, and it is up to each Member State to formulate precise regulations. As a result, there may be even more significant differences between Member States regarding related rights and administrative processes.

EU Blue Card in Hungary

Those arriving in Hungary for long-term employment (more than 90 days) must have the appropriate permit to start the employment relationship. One form of this is the EU Blue Card, which entitles highly qualified holders to work in jobs requiring such qualifications. The permit type is one of the types of permits subject to the merged permit procedure, which provides the right to reside and work at the same time.

  • The EU Blue Card entitles you to work for a specific employer, place of work and position for the first year from the date of issue. After the first year, the EU Blue Card holder is free to change positions or even change jobs, subject to reporting duties.

  • The maximum validity period of the permit is 4 years, which may be extended continuously. The validity of the permit issued shall be determined by the authority based on the planned length of employment.
  • An important change compared to the previous regulation is that an EU Blue Card can be applied for as a first permit, i.e. previous residence in Hungary or within the EU is not a requirement.

EU Blue Cards applied for before 01.01.2024 will remain valid under the previous regulation.

Special conditions for the EU Blue Card

  • Higher education degree (in some cases it can be replaced by certified professional experience) and certified Hungarian translation of the degree certificate
  • A job, requiring high qualifications
  • The salary should reach the minimum set by law for the EU Blue card, which in 2024 is HUF 773,649. In addition, the salary must correspond to the generally applicable minimum wage for the job.

Change jobs with the EU Blue Card

Update – 08/05/2024

The EU Blue Card issued under Act XC 2023 (applied for after 31.12.2023) allows the holder to change employer or job in Hungary, but not without limitations.

The most important criteria for changing jobs is that the new position must also meet the conditions of the EU Blue Card in terms of job position, salary and education.

The EU Blue Card holder is always obliged to notify the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing of the intention to change job/workplace. The process depends on whether the employee has held an EU Blue Card for more than a year.

It is also important that changing jobs cannot be unlimited. The EU Blue card shall be withdrawn if the holder is unemployed for a long period or changes jobs too often.

  • During the period of validity of the EU Blue Card, employment may be terminated no more than twice.
  • The EU Blue Card holder may be unemployed for a maximum of three consecutive months in the first two years from the date of issue of the card and for a maximum of six consecutive months after the first two years.

In these cases, too, employers must report the commencement or termination of employment to the National Directorate General for Aliens Policing in the usual way.

Mobility within the EU

An important aim of the EU directive is to ensure a simple flow of expertise between Member States. In light of this, the Hungarian legislation also provides benefits for employees who already hold a valid EU Blue Card in another EU Member State.

Employees who have held an EU Blue Card in another EU Member State for at least one year can apply for this type of permit in Hungary in an accelerated procedure. The other conditions for issuing the permit remain unchanged.

Situation of family members

In Hungary, their family can also join the EU Blue Card holder, and the authority issues them a residence permit for family reunification purposes based on the EU Blue Card of the employee (supporter of the family).

Family member of an EU Blue Card holder must be in possession of a valid work permit to work legally.

Submission of the application

  • The first application for a citizen of a country subject to visa requirements shall be submitted in person at the Hungarian consulate located in the country of origin or residence.
  • If you are a citizen of a country from where visa is not required to travel to Hungary and entered Hungary as a tourist, you can submit your first application online, through the EnterHungary website of the immigration office. If the applicant is already in Hungary and renews his/her permit, he/she must submit his/her application for extension online.
  • If you have an EU Blue Card issued in another EU country, you can submit your application via the immigration office’s website called EnterHungary.
  • An application for an EU Blue Card may also be submitted by an employer without the applicant’s personal presence, in which case the application must be submitted via the EnterHungary website of the immigration office.
  • The decision making deadline of an EU Blue Card application is 60 days. For intra-EU mobility, the evaluation period is 30 days.

Official information about the application process and the necessary application forms can be found on the website of the National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing. Information on the processing fees for permit applications can be found here.

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