Recommendations on foreigners’ political participation

In the framework of the project “Fostering political participation and policy involvement of immigrants in 9 Central and Eastern EU countries” the Subjective Values Foundation did analysis on three different topics and we formulated recommendations with a brief situation description.

Policy brief on electoral participation of third country nationals in Hungary


The situation in Hungary

  • Two third of immigrants arriving to Hungary are ethnicly Hungarian. The rate of the foreigners are stabil, it is around 1-2 %.
  • While Hungary is granting limited electorial rights and political liberties to the immigrants living in the country, they are not involved into consultative bodies and implementation policies.
  • Comparing to other Central-European countries Hungary is outstanding as we allow political party membership and creating civil organisations for immigrants, but they are not alloewd to fulfil political leading positions with real responsibility.
  • Different research show the immigrants would have a higher level of political participation, voting willingness then the nationals in Hungary.
  • Since 2010 the ethnic Hungarians can easily gain citizenship from other countries and without having a residence in the country they are allowed to vote on parlamentarian elections.


Hungary shall synchronize the voting possibilities according to “no taxation without voting rights” rule, despite the fact that even people never came or lived in Hungary can vote.

  • The State and Budapest municipality shall involve immigrants their consultative bodies and encourage them to participate.
  • In the new Integration Strategy (preparing by the Ministry of interior) the political participation should be better detailed and supported.
  • The policymakers shall recognise the importance of integration and advantages of immigrants coming to the Hungarian society.

Policy brief on advisory bodies of third country nationals in Hungary

The situation in Hungary

There are no continuously functioning, established advisory bodies of immigrants in Hungary.

  • There were good practices – such as the immigrants’ round table of Budapest.
  • The previous experiences showed, that the immigrant communities are having willingness and motivation to join and actively participate in such bodies.
  • International treaties and agreements are encouraging countries to support and maintain advisory bodies, as the Council of Europe Convention does it too.
  • The European Migration Network is the only stable platform to bring the actors together, but it has a different aim and immigrants are hardly involved.
  • Decisions targeting immigrants are not discussed with them.


The state itself and Budapest municipality shall involve immigrant communities into the existing consultative bodies and encourage them to participate in the working processes.

  • Re-launch the good practice “Immigrant Round Table” at Budapest municipality and where it is possible (specially the cities where detention/integration centers are working), copy the methodology and set up similar bodies.
  • Increase the efforts to involve more and more immigrant NGOs and communities to the existing structures (such as the European Migration Network).
  • Specially for new decisions, if they are targeting immigrants, would be important to involve into the discussions immigrant communities.

Policy brief on civil organizations of third country nationals in Hungary

The situation in Hungary

There are around 150 functioning civil organizations in Hungary which can be considered immigrant organization.

  • Most of the immigrant organizations are based on ethnicity or ethnic communities.
  • Their activities are usually focusing on culture, education and charity.
  • They are not concentrating on integration or on policy work related immigration.
  • Their main problems are: lack of funding, language barriers and difficulties in administration.
  • They don’t have an access to the Hungarian institutions, policy-makers.
  • There are only a few exceptions, where immigrant organizations are active in political scene, they mainly focus on human rights issues related to asylum seekers and refugees.


There shall be focused funding opportunities for immigrant organizations by the Hungarian state – strengthening these organizations, and encouraging the cooperative work between Hungarian NGOs with the foreigner ones.

  • Direct cooperation and keeping living contact with the community/organization leaders would give a benefit for both sides.
  • Lower the administrative needs of NGOs in general, where it is possible accept English language materials (or if it makes sense other languages too).
  • For different advisory bodies these immigrant NGOs shall be also priority to involve.
  • Start a dialogue with politically active organizations, their perspective is important for democratic values.

The project was finances by the European Union Integration Fundflag_yellow_low