Monday, June 7, 2010

Ostrava, Czech Republic : Impact of migration [Part 5] - Contribution of the Romanian Team


A view of Romania’s demographic situation:

A population which very soon will enter the 20th year of decline, coming from both natural decrease (since 1992) and negative net external migration (since 1990).

Evolution of Romania's population between 1990 and 2007

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Increasing ageing due to:
The low level of fertility (1,3 since 1995), influenced by:
  • the feminization of emigration;
  • the postponement of marriage and childbearing.
Over 60% of all migrants are women, with a predominance of the 25 to 34 years old age group.

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A question

The developed countries need foreign labor force. On a temporary basis.
By UN Population Division population projections, as well as by Eurostat projections, during the next 10-15 years some Western European countries will have a natural decline of their populations. More foreign
workers will be needed.
Will these countries adapt their immigration policy for attracting young people from other European countries not only for economic reason but also for long term demographic objective?
If the answer will be affirmative, which will be the future of Central and Eastern European countries?


The economical impact of migration in Romania


The main causes of migration in Romania are the economical difficulties and the low job opportunities. Therefore, people find it easier to emigrate to a different country where their work is better paid, thus being able to provide better life conditions for their families.
The money sent by the emigrants to thein family left in the country of origin bring a significant contribution not only in the improvement on the standard of living, but also in the country‟s economy+ Fvery year, the Romanian emigrants who work abroad send approximately 9 billion EUR, money that manage to ameliorate the living standards of millions of people all arend Romania. Also, this has led to an explosion in the construction sector and the construction tools‟ market, it increased the number of cars and it raised the consumption.
The latest research show that in the last 5 years a significant part of the Romanian population has invested in long term goods : 50% of them
have bought home appliances, 37% have extended/modernized their houses and 16% have bought automobiles.

Migration statistics

The registered number of Romanian citizens who settled their permanent
residence abroad is of 395 637 people (1990-2007).
The estimated number of Romanian migrants for work:
  • The Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister suggests that 1,2 million Romanians are legally working outside the country.
  • Also, the Minister of Labour states that over 2 million Romanians are legally and illegally working abroad.
  • Currently, over two million Romanians are working abroad.
o The main countries in which the Romanians are working are Italy and Spain.
o Romanians' remittances represent 5,7% of the Gross Domestic Product.

Positive impact of migration on Romania

  • Remittances (income growth, increased consumption, long term investments) ; the annual remittances volume is of around 9 billion EUR; by World Bank data, Romania is the 8th recipient country.
  • “Export” of unemployment ; the unemployment rate is now 8%.
  • Increased access to educational and health services for the migrants‟ families.
Negative impact of migration on Romania

  • Shortage of labour force in construction, textile industries, hotels, tourism, wood and furniture industries;
  • Population decline and youth loss;
  • Loss of educated/qualified labour force.
  • Costs of education: 1200/EUR/year/student, 850 EUR/year/pupil. 117,99 billion EURO in 2008 (3,2% of Romania's GDP).
The profile of the Romanian emigrant

In general, the Romanians who go abroad represent a competitive working force, well trained. The emigrants with high qualification represent almost 1/5 of the total number of emigrants, while the persons who have graduated only from the primary or secondary school represent less than a third party.

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The evolution of the emigrants’ number according to age

One of the most important factors that influence the labour force is the age of the workers. We can notice an increase of the 26-40 years old Romanian emigrants from 1999 to 2005 in the chart below, determining significant growth of the labour market in the country of immigration.

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Impact on the economy of the country of immigration


448,000 Romanian immigrants employed in 2008.
The contribution of Romanians to the Spanish economy can be estimated, strictly in terms of salaries, at 8,000 million FUR, representing 0.71% of Spain's GNP.
It has been determined that immigration has a highly favourable impact regarding the contributions to the income taxes, respectively for the Spanish health insurance system.


In 2008, 1,2% of Italy's GNP was produced by the Romanians (18,866 mil. EUR out of a total of 1,572,243 mil. EUR).


The impact of labour migration on children

Current situation

The number of migrants increases every year. As a result, the number of children who remain at home without their parents has also increased. According to the National Agency for the Protection of Children's Rights (2006), 82 464 children have remained without one or both parents, after these went to work abroad.
Their data is incomplete, for the Authority itself acknowledges that there are departments that have sent only 30% of the cases, while others up to 100%.
Another study published by the Soros Foundation in 2007 reveals the existence of over 170 000 students (aged 12 to 16) who have at least one parent to work abroad.

Impact on children

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There are various ways in which a child is affected by the departure of his parents to another country. It all begins when the family links are petting weaker. As a result, the adults and the children fail to communicate properly and this problem have multiple ramifications:
  • the teenagers are often affected by the lack of communication with thein parents, as they always need somebody to talk to and ask for advice;
  • in the case of children who remain at home with their grandparents, a problem of understanding related to the difference of mentality have been observed;
  • the teenagers who are not permanently in touch with their parents have been proven to be less self confident , to have worse results at school and even to become isolated from the society.
Deterioration of school behaviour

Leaving the children alone at home, have a significant impact on children's education:
  • the teenagers( especially boys) whose both parents are abroad tend to abandon school;
  • also, these students tend to play truant more often;
  • perturbation in attention (problems with concentration) and lack of motivation;
  • the interest accorded to school is lower;
  • teenagers find it difficult to make their homework (overwhelming duties).
Less control

The family separation diminishes the control capability the parents have on their children. As a result, deviant attitudes may appear especially in the case of teenagers : alcohol, cigarettes and drug abuse, delincvency, early debut of sexual life.

Psychological impact

The children's opinion about the labour migration of their parents is often neglected. This attitude, combined with the previous factors presented may lead even to emotional trauma.
The emotional trauma develops differently from case to case:

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Positive effect of parental migration:

In most of the cases, parental migration determines the rising of the economical life quality of the family.
Children that have the parents working abroad often have expensive toys, computers and laptops, cell phones and scooters.
Beyond the economical well-being, children from migrant families have been taken more frequently part in international trips, compared to other children.

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  • Racu Alexandru, “Singuri acasă. Copiii românilor plecaŃi la muncă în străinătate” [Home alone. The children of the Romanians left working abroad], in Revista 22, vol. XV (892), April 13th – 19th, 2008, [22/05/2008].
  • Toth, G., A. Toth, O. Voicu, M+ Stefănescu, 2007, “Efectele migraŃiei: Copiii rămasi acasă”, FSR, Bucuresti
  • Soros Foundation, 2007, Politics and Institutions in International Migration: Migration for Work from Romania: 1990-2006 – study issued in 2007 (coordinated by Monica Serban and Melinda Stoica); Suceava News Febr.

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Psychological impact of migration

What is xenophobia?

Xenophobia is a dislike and/or fear of that which is unknown or different from oneself. The term is typically used to describe a fear or dislike of foreigners or of people significantly different from oneself, usually in the context of visibly differentiated minorities.

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What is racism?

Racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. In the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups may be denied rights or benefits, or get preferential treatment.

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The main two type of migration in Romania:
  • Legal, registered long term immigrants and emigrants.
  • The number of Romanian citizens who settled their residence abroad is 395 637 (1990-2007).
  • The temporary migration of Romanians for work.
  • This migration started in early 90s – legally and illegally, and increased rapidly as entry visas have been eliminated and Romania became an EU member.
  • The number of Romanians working abroad cannot be estimated accurately.
  • The figure mostly mentioned by observers, analysts, media, official representatives , from Romania and from abroad, is around 2 million. That means near 10% of Romanian population.
    Source: Romanian Statistical Yearbook 2008
These labour migrants are often subjected to racist and xenophobic attacks.

Two case studies: Italy and Spain

We chose to analyse Romanian immigrants' images in two countries: Italy and Spain.
Our choice was based on two reasons: First of all, these two countries have been the main destinations for the Romanian emigrants for the last 10 years. Secondly, they have the largest communities of Romanians abroad.

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Romanians in Italy

  • By 2008 the Romanian immigrants minority in Italy amounted to 1.016 000 people, the largest minority in the Peninsula.
  • In 2008, 1,2% of Italy's GNP was produced by the Romanians (18 866 mill. EUR).
  • Romania is the largest trading partner for Italy: two-way trade totalled $22.6 billion in 2007
  • 26 000 Italian firms in Romania
  • Although most of the Romanians who work in Italy are qualified and have working permits, many cases of racism and xenophobia have been recorded.
  • When searching in the Italian media articles about the Romanian migrants , one can find Romanians labeled as criminals, burglars and thieves.
  • Concerning the general view about immigrants, Romanians are credited with 38% negative and 20% very negative opinions, 38% good and 4% very good opinions.
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  • Also 39* of the respondents can‟t associate Romania with anything, while the top of the list comprises attributes like: very poor people (9%), Dracula (4%), Roma, Gypsies (4%), communism, Ceausescu (2%), and Romanian immigrants (2%). The only aspects which can be put in a category with positive attributes is tourism („I would like to visit Romania‟: 2%).
  • When being asked to associate Roma people with a nation, 38% named Romanians (compared to 9% Slavs, 6% Albanians, or 3% ex-Yugoslavians).
  • Regarding the degree of antipathy Romanians receive 9%, occupying second position (coequal with Serbians and after Albanians).
  • In the category of notorious Romanian personalities, respondents indicated: Ceausescu (24%), followed by ACF Fiorentina football player Adrian Mutu (6%), Dracula (4%), one Romanian singer performing in Italy, Ramona Badescu (3%) and ex-gymnast Nadia Comaneci (2%) .
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  • 59% of the respondents have seen news about Romanians on television in the last 6 months, 47% indicating television as main information source in this respect.
  • These surveys reveal a negative attitude towards Romanians, a lack of knowledge concerning Romania, and a high reliance on media as source of information and opinion former.
  • The racist attitudes have multiplied since several acts of violence have been made by Roma = Romanian (!) individuals.
  • These acts of violence acts having been added to the equation, an intoxicating anti-Romanian and anti-immigration propaganda appeared. The propaganda was used by the main Italian political parties to distract attention from internal problems and to foster feelings of Italian togetherness, which could be used for their own political campaigns.The Italian authorities promised to issue severe laws for expulsion, re-introducing visas for Romanians and even suggested Romania‟s exclusion from the European Union.
  • In the European Union, the space that should allow the free circulation of all the European citizens (for one of the principles on which EU was created was the right of free movement for all the citizens of the member states), the borders still exist for some.
  • The proof of that is the law adopted for the first time by the Italian government in December 2007 that allows Italian authorities to expel EU citizens that are considered to be a threat to the security of the country. Rejected several months after by the European parliament, the law was modified and was validated once again in the spring of 2008, without much protest coming from the EU authorities.
  • Due to the hostile atmosphere created by media, the public opinion has developed an unsympathetic and generalizing attitude towards Romanian immigrants but also towards the entire Romanian nation.
  • An example of media exaggeration is the Il Giornale newspaper from January 28, 2009, displaying a first page title in huge fonts: Troppi criminali romeni. Hanno il record di reati in Italia (Too many Romanian criminals. They hold the record for the most delinquencies in Italy), or a 2006 article in Italy‟s Il Tempo daily which called Romanians “The most violent, dangerous race, willing to kill for a handful of change”.
  • Promoted by the media, these ideas became part of the collective mentality, although the reality is totally different, fact proven by the European studies and statistics which show that the Romanians are not the leaders of crime.
  • According to statistics provided by Caritas - Idos and the Italian Ministry of Justice regarding criminality among 5 categories of immigrants in Italy, Romanians occupy the last position with 0,27% detainees, being outranged by Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans and Albanians.
  • Such statistics are confirmed by other studies which go beyond Italian borders. According to a Eurostat study on criminality (crimes recorded by the Police) conducted for EU-27 (in the field crime and criminal justice), Romania registers similar or even lower percentages of delinquency compared to other countries in the region and in Europe.
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Romanians in Spain

The May 2008, a survey conducted by ASG in cooperation with Mercury Research had the following results regarding the general opinion of the Spanish natives about the Romanian immigrants:
  • Romanians scores as follows: 43% negative opinion, 32% good opinion, 18% very negative, 3% very good opinion, being outdistanced only by the Roma population in terms of negative perception.
  • When asked about the image of the nation, the Spanish spontaneously stated that Romania is characterized by : poverty, misery, delinquency, economic problems, backward country, unemployment, famine, also connections with Roma people, Dracula, communism and Mafia (no single positive statement).
  • In the category of notorious Romanian personalities , the respondents indicated Ceausescu, Dracula, Nadia Comaneci and Romanian football players who performed in Spain, like Hagi or Gica Popescu. 67% of the respondents could not name any Romanian personality.
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  • By 2008 Romanians represented the main community of foreign immigrants: 702.000 people, which makes 17% of all the foreigners in Spain.
  • Out of these, 448.000 are employed, while 99.100 are unemployed (also as a result of the global economic crisis which affected Spain). Besides these, 154.900 persons are inactive (representing children, housewives, elderly people, etc.).
  • The Romanian population in Spain is very young, with a gross activity rate of 77,9 %, much above the national average of just above 50%. The majority of Romanian workers are concentrated in the constructions field.
  • Concerning schooling, the percentage of Romanian children who attend school is 100%.
  • The contribution of Romanians to the Spanish economy can be estimated, strictly in terms of salaries, at 8.000 million EUR, representing 0, 71% of Spain's GNP.
  • According to such statistics, the impact of Romanian residency in Spain does not justify the largely negative perceptions about Romanians. The reason could be found in the more unilateral propagation of negative acts associated by mass media with Romanians, mass media which is seen as major information source, and which influences to a large extent public perception.
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