Serbian migrant workers

Migrant Workers

from Serbia



try motivate temp worker
choice achieve dream (2)
bid head (3) bid farewell
earn regular straight (2)
allow agency temporary
roof supplier bring/brought/brought
labor assemble feel/felt/felt (3)
sector shortage think/thought/thought
range develop find/found/found
instant going rate run/ran/ran (3)
task heart (2) impossible
wage climb (2) at the same time
rapid various double digit
digit percent pay/paid/paid
offer jump (2) on camera
rate for now desperate
abroad employer square (4)
stay hike (2) revolve (2)
deal (2) consider rather not
willing keep up hear/heard/heard
decide share (3) it’s worth it
ladder stick (2) move up the ladder
keep worth (2) send/sent/sent
border outskirt stick around
luxury product dissatisfied
foreign generous leave behind
join (2) employee make/made/made
employ pretty (2) weighs on our hearts
tough guess (2) get used to
citizen and so on marginalize
at least outsider sacrifice (2)



Video: Migrant Workers from Abroad



Daniel Kozma, Temp Worker from Serbia: “I try to motivate myself every day. I have a dream. Things that I want to achieve. That’s why I’m here. I just want a regular life.”

In January 2019, Daniel Kozma bid farewell to his home country Serbia, and headed straight for the EU. He felt he had no choice: all he wanted was to earn more than two-hundred-fifty euros (250€) a month. A temporary employment agency brought him to Hungary.

As a Serb, he’s allowed to work here for two years. He got a job with a German car-parts supplier BOS, assembling roofs for Audi. Companies here are desperate for people like Daniel.

Daniel Kozma, Temp Worker from Serbia: “I think it would be quite easy to find another job. There’s a lot of work in Hungary. And not only there, but in the rest of the EU as well.”

Hungary’s labor shortage runs through all sectors. BOS feels it especially. Developing new product ranges is a complex task, and impossible without foreign labor. At the same time, wages are climbing rapidly.

To keep workers at the company, even for a few months, managing director Gerhard Fischbach has to offer a pretty good deal.

Gerhard Fischbach, BOS Automotive Products, Hungary, CEO: “We had to pay thirty percent (30%) more in 2017. This year we also saw double digit percentage jump. If you don’t keep up with the going rate, you don’t get any workers.”

BOS employs over two-thousand people in Hungary. Some three-hundred of whom are temporary workers either from inside the country or abroad.

Despite the generous pay hikes, only about three out of ten workers stay with the company for long. Many Hungarians consider the wages too low, and move over to Austria.

But they’d rather not say so on camera.

Gerhard Fischbach, BOS Automotive Products, Hungary, CEO: “We talk a lot to our employees, and hear how dissatisfied they are with the various health care system and schools and so on.

It’s clearly got worse over the years.”

Daniel Kozma has decided to stick around. He’ll try to keep moving up the ladder to send more money to his family in Serbia — four-hundred-and-fifty euros (450 €) a month is all he keeps for himself. Although he is not an EU citizen, he could move on and earn higher wages if he got a job offer elsewhere.

Kozma lives in the outskirts of Mosonmagyaróvár, not far from the Austrian border. He shares a fifteen-square meter room with two friends from Serbia. The three of them came to Hungary together.

Instant coffee and cigarettes are the small luxuries they allow themselves.

Many of their conversations revolved around the home they left behind.

Danial Kozma, In Hungary since January 2019: “It’s hard to be here when everyone else is back home. It’s just the three of us here. We’ve made some new friends. But all my old friends, my brothers and sisters, the entire family, they’re all in Serbia.

It weighs on our hearts.”

Daniel’s brothers will soon be joining him here in Hungary. They too are wiling to make the change for higher wages.

Danial Kozma, In Hungary since January 2019: “A lot of the time, I really do feel like an outsider here and that makes it pretty tough. But I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.”

Marginalized, but with more money in his pocket. For Daniel Kozma that’s worth the sacrifice, at least for now.

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1. Daniel Kozma moved to Hungary mainly because of its historical and cultural attractions. True or false?

2. Does he work for a Hungarian company?

3. BOS can pay low wages because locals are desperate for jobs due to high unemployment. Is this right or wrong.

4. Are only construction and agriculture facing a labor shortage? Is there a high or low turnover at the BOS auto supply company?

5. Does Daniel earn a good wage? Is he working abroad to buy a BMW, Mercedes or other luxury car?

6. Daniel rents an apartment and lives by himself. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Does he feel completely assimilated and integrated in Mosonmagyaróvár, or does he miss his family and friends back home?
A. I have lived and worked abroad. Yes or no? Do you have any friends who have migrated? Do you know anyone who lives and works abroad?

B. Are there immigrants or migrant workers in your city? Who are they? Where do they come from? What are they doing?

C. How would you describe the local economy, labor market and work ethic of the locals?

D. What might happen in the future?

E. Should people or the government do anything?

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