Implementation of the EU Blue Card EC Directive

Hungary has implemented EC Directive 2009/50 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals likely to be engaged in highly qualified employment. This Directive promotes EU aims to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, to be capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion and to develop well-managed legal immigration policies, assisting Member States in meeting existing and future labour needs. It was implemented by Act No. CV of 2011 in July of 2011 and is otherwise referred to as the “Blue Card System”.

Successful entry results in the issuing of an EU “Blue Card” which authorises a holder to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and therefore enables third-country nationals to pursue gainful employment in Hungary. Specifically, it permits third-country nationals who are highly qualified and receive a salary higher than gross 300,000 Hungarian Forints to stay and work.

Third country nationals may be eligible for a Blue Card if they:

  • are in possession of a valid travel document;
  • able to justify the purpose of entry and stay;
  • are not subject to expulsion or exclusions,
  • are supported from a domestic government employment policy point of view;
  • have full healthcare insurance, and •have a valid accommodation address in Hungary.

To apply for a EU Blue Card, a form of “pre-contract” concluded between the future employer and the third-country national needs be submitted and must justify the purpose of entry and stay in Hungary.  The pre-contract should include, in particular, the role and responsibilities of the third-country national employee, the length of the work and the agreed salary.

The third-country national applicant must apply for the EU Blue Card at the competent consulate officer of Hungary, or any other agency authorized to accept such applications. The Immigration Office in Hungary has authority to decide on the granting of the EU Blue Card and it involves the Government Employment Agency in respect of the conditions of work.

The Immigration Office must decide the application within a period of 30 days and the Employment Agency has another 30 days to also give its approval. The application costs HUF 18,000, approx. EUR 60.

The EU Blue Card is valid for a maximum of 4 years but is renewable. Where the pre-contract for employment is concluded for a shorter period than 1 year, the Blue Card will be given for that period plus an additional 3 months.

Within the first 2 years of granting the EU Blue Card, the third country national may only perform the activities permitted under the Card or which are supported from a domestic government employment policy point of view.

In the future, the EU Blue Card could be a good alternative for replacing work permits and residence permit in many cases for third-country nationals, especially for those who comply with the restrictions mentioned above.