Hungary's border fence – Photo: wikipedia

Hungary to implement strictest immigration law in EU from March

Hungary will start implementing the strictest immigration law in the European Union on March 1, a state secretary of the interior ministry said on Thursday, adding that the new law aimed to "close all loopholes" and prevent migrants from arriving in Hungary, even as guest workers.

Bence Retvari noted that the law which came into force on Jan 1 but allowed a two-month grace period for implementation, replaces a 16-year-old law and unifies regulations.

The law was prompted by growing migration pressure, as hundreds of thousands of people have been trying to enter the EU since the crisis of 2015, Retvari said. “But Hungary has made it clear it will protect Hungarians’ interests and the EU’s external borders.”

The new law declares that companies can only take on third-country employees if Hungarians are unavailable for the job in question, he said, adding that government offices will determine whether Hungarians can be found for jobs accordingly.

As a result, the number of third-country arrivals may never exceed the number of vacancies, Retvari said.

The law also contains a list of posts that may not be filled by third-country workers, he added.

Guest workers must leave the country within six days of losing their jobs, and employers must assist their departure or risk being fined, Retvari said.

Further, guest workers will not be allowed to bring their families into the country, he said. Staying in Hungary “is not a fundamental right” for any third-country citizen, Retvari added.

Residency permits are issued for fixed terms only, and under no circumstances are they prolonged automatically, he said. One person may have only one justification for residence in the country, and those violating regulations will be expelled with immediate effect, he said.

Retvari also slammed the opposition for not supporting the government legislation in parliament, saying left-wing parties “are obliged to be pro-migration to fit their financers’ expectations.”

Retvari insisted that the left wing had been pro-migration ever since “attacking the construction of the fence on the southern border and voting in favour” of the EU migration pact in the European Parliament.

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