Why is the Asian labor force steadily increasing in the Hungarian labor market?
More and more Asian migrant workers are expected to enter the Hungarian labor market, especially in the field of tourism and hospitality. The majority of guest workers come from Indonesia, the Philippines and Mongolia, but more and more labor is also coming from Vietnam and India.
Asian migrant workers are considered reliable and hardworking people. This is why more and more national recruitment or temping agencies are trying to attract Asian workers to Hungary. The main sectors where they are recruited are tourism and hospitality where the labor shortage is the highest since the Covid crisis. After the recovery of the economy in Western Europe, the previously dominant Ukrainian labor force began to leave the country. Thus, in the spring, the situation in Hungary had become so critical that, according to a recent report by the Hungarian Statistical Office (KSH), almost 90,000 workers are absent from the Hungarian labor market – reported by the news portal Hungarian Index.
In order to counterbalance the situation, the Hungarian governments found a solution last July. As a result, companies have been allowed to employ non-European Asian workers, including Filipinos, Vietnamese, Indonesians and Mongolians, in shortage occupations under certain conditions. One year after the implementation of the emergency measure, 13 intermediary companies have now obtained the “qualified employer status”.
Companies that have been allowed to legally employ Asian migrant workers have undergone serious due diligence. They were also required to post a deposit of EUR 124,000 (~50 million HUF) as security. However, the companies involved are very optimistic. Experts say Asian workers have the same wage demand as the Hungarians. Moreover, they are less likely to return home after a while, whereas this was more common for workers arriving from neighboring Ukraine. Currently, the majority of guest workers come from Mongolia, Indonesia, the Philippines and some from Vietnam.
Mongolian workers are already present in Hungary, around Mór and Győr. They mostly receive positive feedback. According to their employers, they are mostly skilled workers, who compensate for their low skills with a high work ethic. They mainly come to Hungary for a few years to save money and then return to their home country. They are hardworking and adapt well to both home and work environments.
The Indonesian labor force is generally better educated than the Mongols or Vietnamese: many applicants come to Hungary with a secondary or higher education. Many of them are already working in the country. Despite cultural and religious differences, experts say Indonesians can easily integrate into the local community. This is especially true for areas where the labor shortage is more noticeable.
The biggest advantage of Filipino workers is that they all speak English. This is why most domestic companies would like to employ labor in the Philippines. However, the posting of foreign workers is a separate sector of the economy there with its own ministry and its own bureaucracy, which makes life very difficult for national recruitment companies.
According to the expert, in order to hire Filipino workers, domestic or temporary recruitment agencies must first register with the local ministry. Then they have to cooperate with a Filipino agency, which charges them a very large sum of money, 1900-2800 euros for each Filipino worker. In order to make the system more livable, new cooperations are planned from this autumn.
The Vietnamese already have a large European colony and a vast network of contacts, which is why they are exposed to the risk of migration. In practice, this means that if they are not recruited through the right recruitment channel and with the right pre-screening, they will get off the plane in Budapest and go to Vienna, Rome or Paris. Therefore, their long-term stay in Hungary is uncertain.
Furthermore, the employment of Indian labor is also becoming more common in Hungary. There have been many positive experiences with Indian workers across Europe, and because of their skills and strong work ethic, they are welcome in many sectors of the economy. Based on this, Waberers International Plc decided to start employing 80 Indian drivers and 2 dispatchers in March this year. The Waberer’s group continues to rely mainly on Hungarian and regional drivers, and the vast majority of the workforce is Hungarian, but they need foreign workers as they cannot replace a sufficient number of drivers in the region. In order to learn local conditions and comply with legal requirements, Indians had to take courses in Hungary, gain European driving experience, learn about health and safety and other regulations. Since the language of communication with these colleagues is English, a professional interview in English was also carried out – reported by the Hungarian news portal Blikk.
Source: index.hu, blikk.hu