Immigration is one of the biggest problems for Romania’s economy and the scale of the damage done so far is huge. Between 2007 and 2017, 484,753 young people had emigrated temporarily or permanently, and if we add those between 20 and 22 (student age) the number goes over half a million.
According to the paper Statistical Analysis of External Migration after Romania’s Accession to the European Union published in the Romanian Journal of Statistics, the total number of emigrants between 2007 and 2017 was 2.613 million, of which more than 20 percent are young people.
“In terms of immigration, about 20 percent of the total number of temporary immigrants is represented by pupils and students due to the increasing number of scholarships granted to students and research outside the country,” says the report.
“If we analyze the structure by age group of emigrants, we can see that the most important weight is represented by the persons from the age group 20-29 years and from the group 30-39 years. High migration among young people will result in important labour market and pension system issues in the coming years. The phenomenon of demographic aging also grows due to changes in age structure of the population.
Regarding the main destinations of Romanian emigrants for the period 2007-2016, it is noted that in the year of joining the European Union, most Romanians preferred Italy (271,443 persons) and Spain (197,642 persons). With the worsening economic and social conditions in Italy and Spain, there is a substantial increase in the number of Romanians emigrating in the UK (from 2,175 in 2007 to 62,650 in 2016).”
The authors also analyze the correlation between salary increases and migration. Starting from a nominal average monthly salary of RON 1,042 lei in 2007, it reached RON 2,383 lei in 2017, which means an increase of 128 percent.
Despite the increases, Romanian employees still have the lowest wages in the European Union. Also, the wage increases did not correspond to the evolution of the living standard of the population, with high inflation and increased utility spending reducing purchasing power.
“The fact that one quarter of Romanian employees are poor, according to EUROSTAT, or the relative poverty rate remained relatively constant after Romania’s accession to the EU, describes a socio-economic situation that requires urgent intervention by decision-makers in the field of public policy. In other words, referring to the government’s ability to produce well-being for citizens contributes significantly to the decision to migrate to more economically developed countries that offer greater financial and professional satisfaction than in the country of origin.”
“At present, the external migration of the economically active population is a socio-demographic risk to Romania’s national security, along with a decline in population and demographic aging. In the absence of concrete measures to reduce the flow of external migration, this social phenomenon will have socio-economic and demographic consequences in the medium and long term,” the report concludes.