IRB – Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (Author)
The following information was provided by a
Program Director at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in Budapest
(19 Apr. 2000).
As indicated in the Hungarian Helsinki Committee's response to the Research Directorate's information request of October 1997, both the Law on Aliens (Act LXXXVI of 1993 on the Entry, Stay in Hungary and Immigration of Foreigners) and the Law on Citizenship (Act LXV of 1993) provide for preferential treatment of ethnic Hungarians (such as shorter 'waiting' time periods for submitting applications for immigrant status or citizenship). Since October 1997 there has not been any change in the legal regulations in this regard. In practice, the fulfilment of additional requirements set forth by these laws that also persons in question have to meet (i.e., legal employment, sufficient financial background or income, housing etc.) can be quite difficult.
The number of ethnic Hungarians from Romania wishing to immigrate to Hungary has decreased over the past few years, as generally those who wished to do so have already been able to immigrate, or the practical difficulties in obtaining such status have had a discouraging effect.
According to the information of the Hungarian Helsinki Commitee, discrimination against ethnic Hungarians who have obtained immigrant status in Hungary or have acquired Hungarian citizenship is insignificant.
[However], Romanian citizens who are caught working illegally in Hungary are deported regularly and in great numbers to Romania. There is no difference in the treatment of ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Romanians in this regard. Furthermore, the Hungarian aliens policing authorities show little regard to existing family ties in Hungary (i.e., marriage to a Hungarian citizen, or having children who are Hungarian citizens) when carrying out expulsion or deportation procedures.
During the past two years ... the influx into Hungary of ethnic Hungarians from other neighbouring countries, particularly from the Voivodina region of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has substantially increased. This is attributable to the NATO air strikes in 1999 and the current political situation in the FRY. Many of these persons are facing enourmous difficulties in obtaining legal status (refugee, residence or immigrant status) in Hungary.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Budapest.
19 April 2000. Correspondence from a Program Director.
Additional Sources Consulted
World News Connection (WNC).
Internet sites including:
British Helsinki Human Rights Group
Hungarian Human Rights Foundation
International Helsinki Federation for
Human Rights (IHFHR).
Office for National and Ethnic
Minorities in Hungary.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty