Foreign workers in Romania at all-time high this year on severe workforce crisis

Sorin Melenciuc 10/04/2019 | 14:39

The number of new permits issued to foreign workers in Romania increased by 2.5 times during the first three months of this year up to more than 5,000, according to the head of Immigration Bureau in Bucharest, Iulian Cardei.

“The quota for this year is at 20,000 new workers admitted to the labor market from the non-EU countries and up to now we have exceeded 5,000,” Cardei said.

At the beginning of this year, Romania’s government adopted a decree that increased quotas for non-EU foreign workers in 2019 up to 20,000 work permits, an all-time high number, as there is higher demand from local companies claiming they are affected by the workforce crisis.

“For the year 2019 a quota of 20,000 newly admitted workers on the Romanian labor market is established,” the decree says.

In December 2018, the government had planned to issue 13,500 work permits for non-EU workers in 2019 but has decided this year to raise the number up to 20,000.

Last year, the government issued 7,000 work permits for foreign workers, of which 5,200 for permanent and posted workers, but it increased the total number up to 13,200 – including the posted workers, seasonal and other types of foreign employees.

The authorities said that the General Inspectorate for Immigration, a branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, issued between January 1 and November 30, 2018, close to 9,400 new work permits for foreign employees who came mainly from Vietnam, Turkey, Nepal, Serbia and Sri Lanka, according to Labor Ministry data sent to Business Review.

These figures show a record request for foreign employees in Romania, where businesses struggle with workforce shortages in sectors such as construction, HORECA or logistics.

Official data show the total number of non-EU foreign employees in Romania – permanent and posted workers – was 17,089 in July 2018, an all-time high.

Statistics don’t include EU citizens, who don’t need a permit to work in Romania.

China and Turkey are by far the two leading countries of origin for migrant workers in Romania. But Vietnam could become the main source in the following period as the two countries have recently signed a memorandum in order to ease the access of Vietnamese workers on the Romanian market.

Employers claim it’s harder than ever to find new workers in Romania in sectors like construction works or shipbuilding and prefer to bring foreign workers.

Emigration and labour shortage in Romania put increasing pressure on employers to find skilled workers in order to expand their businesses.

The Labour Ministry claims that more than 60,000 jobs are available and the companies offering them never find workers.

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