Over ten thousand employment authorization documents, also known as work permits, and dispatch authorizations were issued last year for foreign citizens who came to work in Romania. Most of them came from Vietnam, Turkey, Sri Lanka and China. The data presented in Bucharest by the General Inspectorate for Immigration show that more than 120 thousand foreign citizens were in Romania at the end of 2018, and more than half of them came from countries outside the EU.
Estimates show that foreign workers are needed in Romania this year as well, therefore the government approved a number of 20 thousand workers to be admitted on the Romanian labor market.
The spokesperson for the General Inspectorate for Immigration, deputy general inspector Ermina Mihai explains: “The decision was made based on Romania’s potential for economic development, based on the need to ensure the labor force required by certain sectors of activity or professions that cannot be covered by Romanian workers. The decision is also meant to prevent situations in which foreigners work in Romania without legal documents. Last year the immigration police verified more than 7 thousand companies and identified 470 foreign citizens who were not legally employed.”
While the number of foreign workers, mainly Vietnamese, is increasing on the Romanian labor market, the Labor Ministry officials in Bucharest are trying to persuade the Romanian citizens who are currently working in EU countries to return home, in an attempt to deal with the labor force crisis, which is a direct consequence of the Romanian workers’ exodus. There is no clear-cut number of Romanians who are abroad.
The Romanian Minister for Romanians Abroad, Natalia Elena Intotero, who was the guest of a Radio Romania show, talked about estimates: “According to data provided by the countries of residence, the Strategy of Romanians Abroad was passed by a government decision in 2017. It is estimated that 10 million Romanian citizens are living outside Romania’s borders. Of them, almost 4 million are ethnics of Romania’s historical communities. We know that the largest Romanian community is in Italy, with more than 1.2 million citizens registered. Probably their number is even higher. There are almost 1 million Romanians registered in Spain, a community that has grown a lot. Another Romanian community that has grown quite a lot in the past years is that in Great Britain, with over 410 thousand Romanian citizens. There are numerous Romanian communities also in France, Germany, Austria and even the Nordic countries. Then, there emerged the migration phenomenon from the countries in southern Europe towards the north, when these countries were affected by economic crises.”
But why are Romanians leaving their native country? Mainly, because of economic reasons. Professor Daniel David with the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca (north west) has more on this issue: “People usually leave their native country because they are looking for a better life elsewhere. What does this mean? Some leave Romania because they are desperate and are making efforts to survive, they leave in order to find normality somewhere else, and they usually go to Western Europe. Others leave because they want more than they had in Romania, they want a higher living standard. Others go to the West to study and choose to remain there after graduation. Causes are diverse and different. And depending on these causes, we can work out what we can do from the point of view of pubic policies or what we can expect. If people left Romania out of desperation, looking for a decent standard of living, you can expect them to return home only if you come up with smart and attractive policies meant to persuade them to return. If people simply left because they were looking for a much higher living standard or because they went to study abroad, you cannot expect many of these people to return home.”
Besides basic needs, people want to be heard, to be respected and to benefit from quality services. Here is Natalia Intotero back at the microphone with more: “Some progress has been made in Romania in the past years. Of course there’s much more to be done, we want to support the Romanian citizens in order to both stop this exodus and encourage those abroad to return home by means of various projects and programs. There are citizens, we don’t know their exact number, who currently choose to go abroad for a couple of months or even longer to work as seasonal workers. But there are also Romanians who have returned home after 10 or 14 years abroad.”
According to minister Intotero there are many Romanians who received international recognition in their profession. Some of them who do not want to return to Romania but they would like the Romanian state to use their expertise for the development of Romania.