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Romanian Government Doubles Number of Admitted Foreign Workers in 2022

Publication: ZRVP

A new Government decision has been recently adopted which considerably increases the overall permitted number of foreign workers in Romania.

Pandemic and post-pandemic consequences can be easily distinguished within the Romanian labor field, as labor shortages are gradually widening. Such disruptive phenomenon has been noticed particularly within key sectors such as construction and hospitality industries.

Labor shortages reports in EU Member States indicate that most eurozone countries have vacancy rates similar to pre-pandemic levels, however many Southern eurozone labor markets are lagging according to current indicators.

Overall, it seems that across Europe, alongside hospitality, vacancy shortage remains significant in the construction industry where activity has boomed lately, as well as in IT and admin support, sectors already dealing with tight labor markets before the pandemic.

The Romanian market is marked by relevant factors such as the decrease in the active population but also by the impact of unfavorable developments in labor mobility. Specifically, an important factor is played by the fact that high skilled Romanian workers often choose to migrate to other European countries, and thus the local work offer is mostly formed by low or medium skilled workers.

As a response to the tensions within the labor market and to recurrent requests from Romanian employees, the government has adopted a decision that will allow companies to hire 100,000 foreign workers in 2022. Compared to 2021, when the overall permitted number of workers outside the European Union was 50,000, this year the Government has significantly raised the number of foreign workers.

What is a Foreign Worker?

According to the European Union regulations and the applicable national legislation, Foreign Workers are considered individuals who are third-country nationals and who can work in Romania only after obtaining a work permit, and subsequently a long stay visa for work and a residence permit. On the other hand, in Romania, every EU/EEA citizen enjoys the same labor rights as the ones applied to Romanian citizens, and thus, they do not need a work permit.

As labor migration remains one of the legal channels for third countries migrants to enter the European Union, and while European workers are harder to lure because there is serious competition across European labor markets, companies are expected to increase the number of workers mainly from Asian countries.

The newly adopted measures will reduce business blockages only on short-term, as importing labor resources is a temporary solution for some sectors. However, serious measures should be further considered by Romanian institutions on how to address the acute demand for workers.

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