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Governance of migrant integration in Romania

Romania is a country of emigration, with the number of departures greater than the one of arrivals, and the presence of foreigners in the country concentrated in the main cities. Official statistics show no major fluctuations in recent years, but a steady increase in the number of third-country nationals (TCNs) was observed from 2013 to 2020, mostly due to the increase in the number of migrant workers.

The statistics in the chart above are based on Eurostat's Non-national population by group of citizenship, 1 January 2020, with TCNs counting 79,400 and representing 0.4% of Hungary’s population. EU citizens make up just 0.3%.

Romania's General Inspectorate for Immigration notes, similarly, that on 1 December 2020, there were 84,330 TCNs living in the country.

There is no aggregated data on Romanian citizens with migrant background, but data provided by the National Authority for Citizenship shows that of 76,564 applications for Romanian citizenship were approved in 2020, with 3,573 submitted through the ordinary procedure for foreign nationals, and 73,000 - through the procedure to re-acquire Romanian citizenship which is mainly open to Moldovans and Ukrainians of Romanian origin.

Integration strategy

Romania does not have a separate integration strategy. Instead, integration is addressed through the immigration strategy.

The National Strategy for Immigration for the period 2015-2018 was the last one to be adopted and approved through government devision 780/2015.

Currently, the National Strategy for Immigration for 2021 – 2025 and its 2021–2022 action plan are undergoing public review.

Integration programme

The Romanian integration programme targets the beneficiaries of international protection who posses either a refugee or a subsidiary protection status. The progreamme consists of a series of services offered through a cooperation among public institutions, local communities and non-governmental organisations, all under the coordination of the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

The programme includes counselling services and support activities ensuring access to employment, housing, medical and social assistance, social security and education.

It also includes language courses and civic education, but does not provide vocational training or labour market assistance.

The programme generally lasts for 12 months and enrollment needs to start within 30 days of the date of granting protection. Participation is not mandatory. However, enrollment does offer certain benefits, such as non-reimbursable financial aid and accommodation in the Governmental Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers for a limited period - usually 12 months - available to low income refugees. Vulnerable persons may be accommodated in the reception centres for longer periods, either until their situation improves or until a more favourable solution is identified.

Evaluation

The Government Decision 572/2008 of 28 May 2008 provides for a biannual evaluation of the implementation of the Strategy for Immigration and its Action Plans. Evaluation reports should be based on monitoring activities, statistical data provided by the competent authorities, as well as on relevant studies on the evolution of migration in Romania. 

The 2020 Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) evaluates that Romania as still does not ensure migrants' access to truly equal opportunities.

Legislation

Law on foreigners

The Emergency ordinance no 194/2002 on the regime of aliens in Romania is the regulatory framework for the entry, stay and exit of foreigners. It also defines their rights and obligations, as well as specific measures to control immigration.

Asylum law

Law no. 122/2006 on asylum establishes the legal status of aliens who are applying for protection in Romania and of persons granted subsidiary or international protection. It also regulates the granting, cessation and cancellation of protection. Government decision no. 1.521/2006 to approve the methodological norms for the enforcement of Law no 122/2006 regulates the rights, obligations and assistance for asylum seekers and persons granted protection.

Integration law

Government ordinance No. 44/2004  on social integration ensures that beneficiaries of international and subsidiary protection have access to the following rights: employment, housing, medical and social assistance, social security, education. It also established an integration programme consisting of cultural adaptation activities, counselling and Romanian language classes. Government decision no. 1.483/2004 to approve methodological norms for the enforcement of Government ordinance no. 44/2004 regulates refugees access to rights and benefits, their participation in the integration programme and the assistance offered to vulnerable groups (disabled people, unaccompanied minors, victims of torture, and others). It also describes the role of state institutions and local public administrations.

Citizenship law

Law No. 21/1991 on the Romanian citizenship establishes ways in which one may acquire or lose citizenship.

Anti-discrimination law

Government Ordinance No. 137/2000 on preventing and sanctioning all forms of discrimination contains detailed provisions on discrimination and harassment. It defines sanctions applicable in case these legal provisions are breached. The document transposes EU directive 2000/43/CE implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of their racial or ethnic origin, as well as EU directive 2000/78/CE establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

Public authorities

The General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs is the authority in charge of asylum and migration. It also coordinates and monitors the integration of TCNs and EU citizens, providing integration services through its regional structures. These structures include six Regional Centres for Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum Seekers across Romania (Bucharest, Galati, Giurgiu, Somcuta Mare, Radauti and Timisoara). The GII also represents Romania at the European Integration Network.

The GII’s responsibilities as the coordinator of integration in Romania extend to the ministries carrying out specific tasks on different integration areas. All of them cooperate through an inter-institutional mechanism established by Government decision No. 572/2008, enforced through Government ordinance No. 44/2004 on social integration.

Refugee issues are addressed through the National Coalition for Refugee Integration, established by Decision No. 312/2015. This inter-ministerial committee is responsible for identifying refugees’ needs, seeking solutions with all parties involved, and ensuring the implementation of necessary measures, in accordance with Romania’s objectives and responsibilities within the European framework. The coalition was active in 2015 and 2016, but was then suspended for an undetermined period.

Civil society

According to Government decision No. 572/2008, non-governmental organisations and employers’ associations may be invited for consultations at quarterly meetings of the Group for the National Immigration Strategy. Civil society organisations are also permanent members of the National Coalition for Refugee Integration.

In addition, several Romanian NGOs active in the field of migration, human rights and public policies launched the Coalition for Migrants' and Refugees' Right (CDMIR) in 2017. Currently, CDMIR has 23 members. The coalition publishes position papers on institutional practices, legislation and policies in the field of migration, and organises training sessions, seminars, conferences, public debates and lobbying activities to push for changes in the fields of asylum, migration and integration.

Funding

EU funds

Non-profit organisations and local authorities can apply for financing through several EU funds. In addition, national and private funds are made available for service providers and other stakeholders to carry out projects aiming for a better integration of the migrant population.

The information below will be updated once the 2021-2027 national programmes under the EU funds become available.

Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) in Romania

European Social Fund (ESF) in Romania

  • Details: Under the pperational programme Human Capital, €940 million is designated to social inclusion and fighting poverty out of a total funding package of over €4 billion under ESF.
  • National managing authority: The national managing authority for ESF in Romania is the Ministry of European Funds.

Other EU funds for integration available in Romania

ERASMUS+, the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe

National managing authority: National Agency for Community Programmes on Education and Professional Training

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the EU by correcting regional imbalances

National managing authority: Ministry of European Funds

Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), offering material assistance to the most vulnerable or in need

National managing authority: Ministry of European Funds 

European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), supporting the development of rural economies and communities

National managing authority: Managing Authority for NRDP

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

National managing authority for the EMFF in Romania: the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; EMFF supports coastal communities in diversifying their economies and finances projects that create jobs and improve quality of life along European coasts

Other funds

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