Foreign employees entering Hungary
As of 5 September 2020, Government decree no. 422/2020 (IX. 4.) (the „Government decree”) amended Government decree no. 408/2020. (VIII.30.) that set out entry restrictions. We briefly summarise below the detailed provisions of the amended rules affecting foreign employees.
The Government decree supplemented the effective rules with provisions on business and economic travel. Under the new provisions, a foreign citizen who arrives to Hungary for business or economic purposes and proves this fact upon entering the country, is exempt from the 14 day long quarantine that would be mandatory after the entry. Accordingly, the entry restrictions do not apply to the foreign employee who comes to the Hungarian employer to work or in the framework of posting or arrives in the country on a business trip.
Given that the rules regarding the entry to Hungary change day to day, it is particularly important to keep yourself informed before all business and work trips.
The entry restrictions introduced by Government decree no. 408/2020. (VIII.30.) (the “Government decree”) that entered into force on 1 September 2020, may raise many questions in the Hungarian employers employing foreign employees in Hungary. We summarise below our answers to the most common questions of employers:
1. What should the employer expect whose employee travels to Hungary after 1 September 2020 to perform work?
Numerous employers may be affected by this question, since, for example, the foreign employees returning from their annual holiday fall under the entry restriction as well. In case of EU citizens holding registration certificates (except for Czech, Polish and Slovak nationals) and third country nationals holding combined residence and work permits, the very same and less restrictive rules are applicable as to the Hungarian citizens returning home. It means that they must tolerate the performance of a medical check upon entering Hungary then they will spend the following 14 days in mandatory quarantine (either in home quarantine or quarantine designated by the competent authority).
Based on the Government decree, the 14-day long quarantine may be shortened, if the employee has two PCR tests with negative results performed in Hungary within five days, with at least 48 hours between them.
2. What are the applicable rules to business trips of employees within the same company group?
If the foreign employee arrives to Hungary from an affiliated company as part of a business trip, i.e. for the purpose of attending a training, other meeting or providing services, he/she may enter the country without any restriction.
3. What rules shall be followed in case of foreign posted workers’ travel to Hungary who are assigned to a Hungarian employer?
Based on point (2.) above, if the assignor and the assignee are considered affiliated undertakings, the posted employee may enter the country to provide services without any restriction.
If the assignor and assignee are not considered affiliated undertakings, the following provisions are applicable: if an employer operating in any EU member state assigns its employees to Hungary by posting, the provisions of point (1.) above are applicable to their travel to Hungary, i.e. these posted workers will be treated as if they were Hungarian citizens.
In case of employees assigned to Hungary by an employer operating in a third country, the less restrictive rules specified in point (1.) above are applicable to their entry to Hungary, if the posted employees hold permits allowing them to stay more than 90 days. In the lack of such permit, more restrictive provisions shall be followed. Accordingly, these employees may only be entitled to enter Hungary in the exceptional cases determined in the Government decree, for example upon submitting a request based on an invitation letter issued by an administrative body.
We note that the above entry restrictions are not applicable to the foreign employees providing satisfactory proof when entering Hungary that they have undergone COVID-19 infection within 6 months prior to the entry.
In certain cases and for a justifiable reason, foreign national affected by the above entry restrictions may apply electronically for an entry permit at the competent police station of Budapest Police Headquarters (Budapesti Rendőrfőkapitányság).
In the present exceptional situation, it is advisable in case of all business and work related trips to review the relevant, effective legislation of both the country of departure and the country of entry in advance.