Published: September 08 2023
Budapest is experiencing a significant growth in its expat community, with more and more foreigners choosing to settle in the city for extended periods of time. This trend is contrary to the previous perception that expats were leaving Hungary. The city has seen an increase in high-value foreign arrivals, including those coming for work, business, diplomatic, or educational reasons.
The Increase in Expat Numbers
According to the Hungarian Central Statistics Office, the number of immigrants in Hungary reached 202,525 in 2022. Over half of these immigrants were from the European Union, with Germany, Romania, and Slovakia being the main origin countries. Additionally, there were significant numbers of immigrants from Asian countries, particularly China, as well as Ukraine. The primary reasons for their stay in Hungary were employment, education, and family.
Growth in the Expat Community
Over the past two decades, the expat community in Hungary has doubled in size, reaching over 200,000 foreign nationals. This growth is significant when compared to the number of expats at the start of the millennium. Between 2009 and 2019, the number of expats remained stable at around 20-25,000. However, in recent years, there has been a notable increase, with 55,000 expats in 2019. The arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 led to a decrease in numbers, but the expat community remains substantial.
Reasons for Expats not Registering
It is important to note that a significant number of expats in Hungary do not register with the authorities. One reason for this is a law that allows individuals from neighboring countries to work in Hungary without a special permit if they are looking for employment in sectors experiencing employee shortages. This provision has led to a large number of immigrants from Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia.
In the past 20 years, Hungary has seen more immigrants coming into the country than leaving it each year. This indicates a trend of attracting foreign nationals to Hungary rather than seeing an outflow of population. The country's welcoming policies and attractive opportunities contribute to its appeal as a destination for expats.
Overall, Budapest has become an appealing city for expats, with a growing community of foreigners choosing to call it home. The city's rich culture, employment opportunities, and favorable living conditions make it an attractive destination for those looking to reside in Hungary for an extended period of time.
Questions & Answers
=== Are there a lot of expats living in Hungary? Yes, the number of expats living in Hungary has been increasing over the past few years. According to the Hungarian Central Statistics Office, in 2022, Hungary hosted 202,525 immigrants. The number of expats has doubled in Hungary over the last two decades.
Where do most expats in Hungary come from? The majority of expats in Hungary come from the European Union. The main origin countries are Germany, Romania, and Slovakia. There are also significant numbers of expats from Asian countries, particularly China, as well as Ukraine, America, and Africa.
Why do expats come to Hungary? Expats come to Hungary for various reasons. The most common purposes of their stay are employment, education, and family reasons. Many expats come to Hungary for work, either for business or diplomatic reasons, or to pursue higher education. Some also come to be with family members who are already living in Hungary.
How long do expats typically stay in Hungary? On average, expats stay in Hungary for three to five years. However, the duration can vary depending on the individual's reasons for coming to Hungary. Some expats may stay for shorter periods while others may choose to settle in Hungary for a longer time.
Is there a significant expat community in Budapest? Yes, Budapest has a growing expat community. More and more expats are settling in Hungary's capital for significant periods of time. Budapest offers job opportunities, a vibrant cultural scene, and a high quality of life, which attracts expats from all over the world.
Do expats in Hungary interact with locals? Yes, many expats in Hungary have a settled lifestyle and interact with local contacts. As they spend more time in the country, they may socialize less with other expats and integrate more into the local community. This interaction with locals can help expats immerse themselves in Hungarian culture and make the most of their time in Hungary.
Is there any special permit required for expats working in Hungary? In 2016, Hungary passed a law allowing people from neighboring countries to work in Hungary without a special permit if they were looking for a job in sectors experiencing employee shortages. This has attracted many expats from Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia to come and work in Hungary.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the number of expats in Hungary? The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the number of expats in Hungary. In 2020, the number of expats living in Hungary dropped to 44,000, compared to 55,000 in 2019. However, as the situation improves and travel restrictions ease, it is expected that the number of expats in Hungary will increase again.
Is there any support or resources available for expats in Hungary? Yes, there are support networks and resources available for expats in Hungary. There are expat communities, online forums, and social groups where expats can connect and seek advice. Additionally, there are relocation services and agencies that can help expats with the practical aspects of moving to Hungary, such as finding accommodation and navigating the immigration process.