Migrant Integration Governance in Romania
Romania is a country of emigration: departures are larger than arrivals and the presence of foreigners in the country is very limited. Official statistics show no major fluctuations in the recent years but a steady increase in the number of third country nationals was observed between in 2013 and 2016.
On 1 January 2017, 64 891 Third Country Nationals (TCNs) were living in Romania. They represented 0.3% of the total population, according to the General Inspectorate for Immigration.
Most came from Moldova (10 485), Turkey (9 087) and China (7 727). 53 751 had valid temporary resident permits and 11 140 were permanent resident.
Out of the 11 867 temporary permits issued in 2016, 39% were for studies, 32% for family reunification, 24% for international protection and 15% for employment.
There are no aggregated data on Bulgarian citizens with third country background but data provided by the National Authority for Citizenship show that, in 2016, 423 persons acquired the Romanian citizenship upon request and 80 265 through the procedure of reacquisition of Romanian citizenship mainly open to Moldavians and Ukrainians.
Romania does not have a separate Integration Strategy but the following objectives regarding the integration of non-nationals are included in the National Strategy for Immigration for the period 2015-2018 and approved by the Government Decision 780/2015:
- foster the social integration of immigrants and refugees
- create an environment to facilitate the integration of TCNs.
- include of integration aspects in all other relevant policy areas
The implementation of the National Strategy on Immigration is described in annual Action Plans. The 2017 Action Plan mainly focused on improving refugees’ access to their fundamental rights while the 2018 Action Plan aimed to improve integration through continued assistance on the 4 main pillars: social, medical, housing and employment.
The Romanian Integration Programme consists of a series of services offered through a cooperative effort between public institutions, local communities and nongovernmental organisations, under the coordination of the General Inspectorate for Immigration. All aim to facilitate the integration of beneficiaries of international or subsidiary protection in the Romanian society.
The programme consists of counselling services and support activities ensuring access to the following rights: employment, housing, medical and social assistance, social security and education.
It also includes:
☑ language courses
☑ civic education
☒ vocational training and labour market assistance
The Programme generally lasts 6 months and enrolment needs to take place within 30 days from the granting of protection. It is not mandatory, but participation offers benefits such as a non-reimbursable financial aid.
The Government Decision 572/2008 of 28 May 2008 provides for a bi-annual evaluation of the implementation of the Strategy for Immigration and its Action Plans. Evaluation reports are based on monitoring activities, statistical data provided by the competent authorities, as well as relevant studies on the evolution of migration in Romania. They also include recommendations for future actions.
☑ Foreigners Law
The Emergency Ordinance no 194/2002 on the regime of aliens in Romania is the regulatory framework for the entry, stay and exit of aliens in Romania. 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 those granted subsidiary or international protection in the country. It also regulates the granting, cessation and cancellation of protection. The 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 specific to 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 their access to rights and benefits, their participation in the integration programme and the assistance offered to vulnerable groups (disabled persons, unaccompanied minors, victims of torture, et.). It also describes the role of State institutions and local public administrations.
☑ Nationality Law
Law no. 21/1991 on the Romanian citizenship establishes ways in which one may acquire or lose Romanian citizenship.
Government Ordinance no. 137/2000 on preventing and sanctioning all forms of discrimination contains detailed provisions on discrimination and harassment. It sets down sanctions applicable in case these legal provisions are breached. The document transposes EU Directive no. 2000/43/CE implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of their racial or ethnic origin, as well as EU Directive no. 2000/78/CE establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.
The General Inspectorate for Immigration within the Ministry of Internal Affairs is the authority that coordinates and monitors integration issues. It also provides integration services through its regional structures, including 6 Regional Centres for Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum Seekers. It is also Romania's representative at the European Integration Network. In addition, each ministry is responsible for integration areas related to their field of competence. All cooperate through an inter-institutional mechanism established by Government Decision no 572/2008.
Refugee issues are addressed through the National Coalition for Refugee Integration, established by the prime-minister Decision no 312/2015. This inter-ministerial committee identifies refugees’ needs, seeks optimal solutions and ensures the implementation of necessary measures, in accordance with Romania’s objectives and responsibilities within the European framework.
According to the Government Decision no 572/2008, non-governmental organisations and employer’s associations may be invited for consultations at quarterly meeting of the Group for the National Immigration Strategy. Civil society organisations are also permanent members of the National Coalition for Refugee Integration.
In addition, 11 Romanian NGOs active in the field of migration, human rights and public policies launched a Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees in 2017. The Coalition elaborates position papers on institutional practices, legislation and policies in the field of migration, and organises training sessions, seminars, conferences, public debates and other activities to support changes in the field.
Non-profit organisations and local authorities can apply for financing through several funds. EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) is the most important one in terms of budget. Coordinated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the basic allocation for Romania under AMIF is 21.9 million Euro. The total allocation is distributed as follows: Asylum – 29.85%, Integration/Legal migration – 26.20%, Return - 32.45% and Solidarity - 0.57%. Within integration/legal migration, the main strategic goals are to provide integration services
And include of integration aspects in all other relevant policy areas, through strengthened capacity for relevant actors and inter-institutional cooperation.
Other funds are also available for service providers and other stakeholders which carry out projects aiming for a better integration of the migrant population. The main financial frameworks providing funds for projects in this area are:
☑ Providing integration services
- Romanian National Refugee Council
- Jesuit Refugee Service Romania
- Save the Children – Romania
- International Organization for Migration Romania
- Romanian Forum for Refugees and Migrants
- Intercultural Institute of Timisoara
- ICAR Foundation
- Romanian Association for Health Promotion - Research and Information Centre on Immigrant Integration