Recent changes in the practice of the Hungarian Immigration Office
In September 2016, EU directive 2014/66 (Regulation) was implemented into the Hungarian legislation that regulates the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (ICT) within Europe.
Based on the above rules an ICT permit can be obtained which is a combined work and residence permit available for managers, specialist, and trainee employees, and can be issued for a maximum 3 years period for managers, specialists and maximum 1 year for trainees which cannot be extended.
ICT permit can be issued for an individuals who are:
- non-EU nationals,
- under contract with an entity of the company outside the EU at the time of application and during the transfer,
- managers, specialists or trainees, as defined by the Regulation.
Amongst other conditions defined by the legislation, the foreign national has to be employed by the company from 3 months immediately prior to filing ICT permit application.
ICT permits can be obtained from September 2016 in Hungary, however in the last few month we faced many questions during the implementation of the ICT permits.
There are differencies between the wording of the legislation and the way it has been interpreted and implemented in practice by the Immigration Office, e.g.:
- the application for Single Permits (for employment) may be questioned by the Immigration Office and ask the applicant to switch the process to ICT application. An appeal can be filed against this process requesting the Immigration Office to issue a Single Permit if this can be supported with appropriate reasons. Otherwise, ICT permit will be issued or the application will be refused.
The advantage of receiving an ICT permit is that the individual can travel/work (within the group) freely within the EU for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period without another permit application. However, the ICT permit can be obtained for a maximum period of three years in the case of managers/specialists, and for one year only in the case of trainees. Once the above period is lapsed, the individuals have to be localized or leave the country. Unfortunately, no waiting period is implemented into the Hungarian legislation (i.e. in lack of a local contract, the individual cannot come back to work in Hungary as an assignee).
The above might impact Hungarian assignments of third country nationals where a bilateral social security treaty grants more than 3 years of exemption from Hungarian social security liabilities in the case of assignments (e.g. the US, Japan).