Download MIPEX III Romania in Romanian (pdf)



In the run up to EU accession in 2007, legal rules on family reunification, long-term residence and anti-discrimination were adopted to ensure conformity with EU law. Since then, emigration has remained much stronger than the modest starts towards work immigration and asylum in Romania.

Newcomers to Romania enjoy just half-way favourable integration policies, but better than those in most Central European and Baltic countries. Robust anti-discrimination laws are the country’s greatest contribution to equal opportunities for all residents, including migrants. Since adopted in 2000, they have successively improved in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006, in line with the general European trend. Romania is better prepared than most in the region for migrant workers and families, with policies like the new countries of labour migration. Policies on these areas may be undermined by ongoing administrative discretion to refuse or withdraw permits from migrants who meet the legal conditions. In areas such as nationality, political participation and education, Romania is missing some fundamental principles becoming the norm across Europe; for example, dual nationality, jus soli, voting rights and equal access to education

Timeline - What's Changed

0 1 January 2007
Accession to the EU
Accession of Romania to the European Union.
0 January 2007
National Strategy on Migration for 2007–2010.
0 June 2007
Labour market mobility
GEO no. 56/2007 on employment and posting of workers on Romanian territory.
0 2008
Labour market mobility
Order 4022/2008: Regulation on methodology to recognise and validate qualifications.
0 March 2009
Decision 444: Constitutional court confirms role of the National Council on Combating Discrimination.
0 November 2009
Ministry of Education Order no. 5925 concerning courses in Romanian language.

Key Findings

  • Policies can promote future labour market mobility and family reunion like in new immigration countries. 
  • Good policies to target the specific needs of migrant pupils are undermined by poor access to the education system. 
  • Romania’s strong and improving discrimination laws could be greatest asset for integration. Like BG and HU, can follow other leading countries to make law easier to use. 
  • Long-term residence scores slightly below average, with burdensome conditions and poor security. 
  • Limited political participation and restrictive access to nationality despite new trends in Europe. 

Score Changes

Areas of Integration

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    Migrant workers who make it to Romania have better legal opportunities to contribute economically than in other Central European and Baltic countries. According to the law, migrants and Romanians doing the same work should be granted the same conditions (as in most) and social security (as in half). Temporary workers and families cannot fully access all professions as in the newer and older countries opening to labour migration. Still, they can use similar general job support such as education, vocational training and study grants. They can also access a few targeted measures to recognise qualifications and access employment services.

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    The family eligibility provisions and conditions in law are better developed than many elements of the procedures themselves. Newcomers who want to be reunited with their families enjoy slightly favourable conditions in line with EU law requirements. Sponsors have 1 year’s residence permits (as in 17 other MIPEX countries). All dependent adult children/relatives are included (5). Any income/accommodation conditions are set at no more than basic levels (21). Just halfway secure, they can receive refusals or withdrawals on many grounds, but with the right to reasoned decisions and appeals. Reunited families have similar legal rights as their sponsors (18). But they have limited chances at autonomous residence permits before long-term residence, which remains problematic in most countries.

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    For children that can access the education system, schools are slightly able to target their ‘problems’ but not the new opportunities they bring to all pupils. Undocumented children in Romania (and only BG, HU and SK) need stronger and more explicit legal guarantees to access schools. For all migrant pupils in the classroom, there are targeted measures above average for Central Europe, including standardised language support, trained teachers and ongoing guidance. But there is no systematic support to teach immigrant languages (unlike 22) and cultures (14) or fight potential segregation (12). All pupils are unlikely to see cultural diversity across the curriculum with little State support to meet official aims on intercultural education (see CZ, EE, SK).

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    Romania scores lowest on political participation of all 31 MIPEX countries. Apart from the right to create media, non-EU residents cannot become a part of democratic life. Law 194/2002 confirms that they cannot set up their own political association or join political parties, as in only 6 other countries. New communities cannot obtain State funds to organise politically, except through occasional European Integration Fund projects. They cannot vote as in 19, including 5 Central European countries. Immigrant consultative bodies (recently GR) are still absent from Central Europe. Migrants may be better engaged in the future, since the 2010 Action Plan to implement the National Migration Strategy mentions possible consultative bodies.

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    Slightly below the European average, non-EU citizens already resident in Romania for 5 years still face many obstacles to have equal opportunities to integrate as guaranteed in EU law. Eligibility is relatively restrictive, as certain temporary permits cannot count towards the 5-year waiting period. Those who can apply may be excluded under more burdensome conditions than other Central European countries. They receive free language courses, but they do not know if they can pass the discretionary language interview (see CZ, PT). Again, applicants and long-term residents are uncertain about the future, as the State retains wide discretion, like other Central European countries. To protect themselves, they have some legal avenues of redress and prohibitions against expulsion.

  • Show Access to Nationality

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    After years in the country, migrants and their descendants do not have clear paths to citizenship, a gap in integration policies in most Central European countries. Their children born legally on Romanian territory are not automatically Romanian at birth (see recently GR). First generation immigrants face State committees testing their language and knowledge of Romanian citizenship, history, geography, culture, etc., all without specific support to help them pass, unlike in BG. They must also prove vague income and good character requirements (as in 11 others). Citizenship can be withdrawn on wide grounds without any time limits (unlike 14) or protection against statelessness (unlike 19). Dual nationality is only possible for first generation migrants who naturalise.

  • Show Anti-discrimination

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    All residents, whatever their ethnicity, race, religion and nationality, can use Romanian anti-discrimination law so that the integration opportunities guaranteed in the law are better respected in practice. They enjoy better laws than in most countries in Europe and the region, leading with BG and HU. These laws extend far beyond the minimum standards seen in the recently adopted laws in CZ, EE, SK. As in 17 other countries, a migrant is protected against discrimination on all grounds including nationality, and Romania is one of 15 countries in which this protection extends to all areas of life.

    Mechanisms for enforcement are 2nd most favourable in law in all MIPEX countries. In comparison, other leading countries continue to make them more accessible to the public (e.g. SE, UK). Potential victims in Romania can bring a case to alternative dispute resolution, courts or administrative proceedings. Though the procedure remains long and complex, victims can benefit from financial assistance and shifts in the burden of proof. NGOs also have opportunities to help by initiating proceedings and using statistical evidence and situation testing to prove discrimination. However, class actions are not possible, unlike in BG, PT and SK.

    Victims can also receive independent advice and investigation of facts from the strong equality body – the ‘National Council on Combating Discrimination’ (NCCD), which can also issue binding and appealable decisions. It can instigate proceedings on its own initiative. The role of the NCCD as an independent administrative body with a jurisdictional mandate was recently confirmed by the Romanian Constitutional Court. However, it cannot take a case in the name of the complainant, unlike bodies in 12 MIPEX countries. Moreover, the State has taken few obligations upon itself to promote equality. Compared to states such as BG or HU, it does not have to undertake information campaigns, public dialogue or positive duties or actions.