The number of valid residence permits issued to foreign citizens living in Romania dropped by 14 percent in 2017 to a 5-year low of 54,045, according to EU official data.
In 2016, the number of valid residence permits issued in Romania reached 62,882, an all-time high.
But almost 9,000 foreign residents in Romania didn’t apply to renew their documents, Eurostat data show.
In terms of foreign people living on its territory, Romania ranks among the least attractive nations in the EU.
Romania is the 7th most populous country in the European Union, its foreign residents’ population exceeds only those in six countries: Malta (25,871 foreign residents in 2017), Croatia (31,024), Luxembourg (40,294), Lithuania (44,525), Slovakia (48,119) and Bulgaria (51,021).
In the EU, even tiny countries like Cyprus and Estonia attracts more foreign people than Romania, Eurostat data show.
However, this situation might change soon as employers and the government are looking abroad to find workers.
Recently, seaside business owners in Romania said that they are having an increasingly harder time finding seasonal workers to provide the essential services of the tourism industry.
They urged the government to make it easier for them to hire people from other countries.
At their request, Romania’s government has increased in July quotas for non-EU foreign workers in 2018 by 5,200 work permits, on high demand from local companies claiming they are affected by workforce crisis.
The government has decided the supplementation by 5,200 of the contingent by types of newly admitted workers on the Romanian labor market in 2018 for the two major categories of employment, up to 8,000 permanent workers and 2.400 posted workers.
But few foreign workers are currently working in Romania, official data show.
During the first seven months of this year, Romania issued work permits for 4,395 non-EU foreign employees who came mainly from Vietnam, Turkey, Nepal, Serbia and Sri Lanka, according to Labor Ministry data sent to Business Review.
Official data show the total number of non-EU foreign employees in Romania was 17,089 in July 2018, an all-time high, but a negligible figure compared with the numbers seen in western European countries.
Turkey and China are by far the two leading countries of origin of migrant workers in Romania, with 3,627 and 2,120 employees, respectively, followed by Moldova (1.787), and Vietnam (1,554).