kapubanner for mobile
Published: 6 month

Treating migrant workers like human beings

They are not unskilled, illegal migrants, but carefully selected, valuable workers who come to work - says László Küzmös, owner of Get Work Trend, a certified temporary employment agency. He said that this year there have been fewer arrivals than expected, and next year they could fill up to 100 000 new jobs. What is the role of a responsible employer in managing expatriates, integrating them into the work environment and the local community?

Küzmös László Get Work Trend Vietnám-

How many guest workers have arrived in Hungary this year?

I can't give exact figures, but fewer than expected. We brought in about 1000 guest workers from the Philippines and Vietnam. At the beginning of the year, the government estimate was 20,000 Filipino workers; at the half-year mark, a Filipino official said only 10,000. In the end, there were fewer than that, with around 8,000 in the country. One reason is that companies have not expanded as much as planned.

How much interest do you see in foreign guest workers on the employer side now?

Definitely increasing. Even employers who have not hired third-country nationals have started testing with 10-20 people. If they're satisfied, they'll continue recruiting hundreds more.

A frequently asked question is why do we need foreigners? Can't we fill the factories with Hungarian workers?

The labour needs of investment coming into Hungary cannot be met from the domestic market. Next year we will need about 100,000 new workers, more factories will be built, we expect a strong bounce-back in the automotive industry, which will also be reflected in the supply chains, and from 2025 the factories that have been built will start producing. If the Paks investment starts, that alone will absorb 13 000 workers. Hungarian employers always look locally in the first instance, and have done their best to hire Hungarian workers. However, there are not that many skilled and unskilled workers in Hungary. There is some potential in retraining - highly skilled technicians are also needed in large numbers by automotive suppliers. Some companies have started on this path, but more state support is needed.

A top issue in the Hungarian public debate is the arrival of guest workers. How do you see the discourse on this issue?

I really don't like it when people lump guest workers and illegal migrants together. Guest workers are workers who have gone through multiple rounds of selection and immigration procedures, who create value for their Hungarian employers and thus increase Hungarian GDP and tax revenues. Recently, we brought in 200 Filipino guest workers for factory and skilled work. 10,000 people applied for the positions, and we personally selected the best of nearly 1,000 in Manila. Of those hired, 50 are graduates and 150 are high school graduates with significant work experience.

They should be treated as human, valuable workers. Unfortunately, I have seen an example of an HR manager at a public event talking about them objectifyingly as work tools. They deserve respect for coming to work for us. It is also not advisable as an employer to treat them badly because there is international competition for Filipino workers, the news is being brought back to their home country and we could lose them.

There are, however, fears and concerns among the population. Is this something for employers to deal with?

I think it is natural that people are afraid of the unknown, of people from other cultures. As employers we have a responsibility to deal with this situation. For example, if guest workers are coming to a small municipality, it is recommended to contact the municipality. Information material can be prepared on when, from where, how many people are coming, where they will be accommodated. The more the residents know about them, the more they will be accepted. It is worth taking great care to integrate guest workers into the company, to organise their free time so that they feel at home, because that is when they can work best.

A month ago, the government submitted a new bill on aliens to parliament. What are your views on this? Where are the critical points regarding guest workers?

I would like to wait with this the text of the law adopted by the parliament, there may be many more amendments during the parliamentary debate. We are counting on that.

One of the sticking points for employers is that the employer will be subject to a fine if the guest worker does not return to his/her home country after termination of employment. What do you think about this?

It is unworkable in this form. We have no authority, we cannot restrict workers' personal freedom, that would be a criminal offence. I think it more likely that the employer should do everything in his power to ensure that the guest worker leaves in the way required by law: report the end of the employment relationship to the authority, have him dismissed under employment law and arrange for his return journey, for example with an airport transfer and a plane ticket. I am sure that this issue will also be settled in a reassuring way by the law.

What plans do you have for 2024 in terms of guest worker recruitment?

We will continue recruitment in the Philippines and Vietnam. We are also opening up to several new countries. We are looking for cultural similarities and the right work motivation when selecting the right country/countries to ensure that all parties involved benefit from the arrival of workers.

On the opening photo László Küzmös, owner of Get Work Trend

© Copyright HRKnowledgehub.com - 2024