In 2019, 22 000 new immigrants obtained a residence permit longer than 12 months in Romania (excluding EU citizens), 79.5% more than in 2018. This figure comprises 64.8% labour migrants, 16.2% family members (including accompanying family), 14.1% who came for education reasons and 4.8% other migrants. Around 1 800 short-term permits were issued to international students and 2 100 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 16 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2019, an increase of 32% compared to 2018. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

In 2020, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 100%, to reach around 6 000. The majority of applicants came from Afghanistan (2 400), Syria (1 400) and Iraq (400). The largest increase since 2019 concerned nationals of Afghanistan (2 200) and the largest decrease nationals of Iraq (-200). Of the 2 500 decisions taken in 2020, 25.3% were positive.

Emigration of Romanians to OECD countries increased by 2% in 2019, to 288 000. Approximately 38% of this group migrated to Germany, 14% to Italy and 11% to the United Kingdom.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has proposed a new National Strategy on Immigration for 2020-23, which focuses on border control and illegal migration. It is also aimed at meeting the demand for labour in the country by attracting foreign labour, using a quota system. In 2019, the quota of authorisations of employment for foreign citizens in 2020 was increased to 30 000; for 2021, the number was reduced to 25 000.

Admission and legal residence procedures for third-country nationals were changed in 2020 to exempt citizens of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and the Republic of Serbia from the need to obtain work authorisation. They must be employed in Romania with an individual full-time contract of employment for a maximum period of nine months in a calendar year. They may apply for a long-stay visa for employment without the need to present a copy of the authorisation of employment.

Significant changes to Romania’s integration law were made in 2019. The main aim was to improve the integration process of beneficiaries of international protection by increasing the resources available and strengthening the co-operation between the central government, local governments, communities, and civil society organisations. Specific measures related to education, housing, community involvement and stakeholder co-operation.

Legislation in 2020 relating to the posting of workers provided for additional rights, in terms of remuneration and working conditions, and additional obligations for their employers, such as new administrative requirements and higher costs.

In response to COVID-19, an Emergency Ordinances in 2020 revised the provisions concerning foreign nationals. The validity of the documents issued by the Romanian Immigration Authorities was maintained throughout the state of emergency and for 90 days after the end of the state of emergency; for subsequent travels to Romania, the additional days granted by this ordinance will not be taken into account when calculating the maximum stay period allowed.

Between 1 June 2020 and 31 December 2020, the Emergency Ordinance provided financial support to employers who hired dismissed Romanians previously working abroad on full time permanent contracts.

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