Newsletter OPEN - No. 17 - 2016

Dear Project Partners, Dear Supporters, the first six months period of the project, under the leadership of the Lampas Foundation, ended in February 2016. It was a fruitful period, with plenty of events and much exchange of experiences between project partners. In all three countries, there are very positive results; all project partners are committed to provide quality services, and the benefits of this project for the target groups are emphasized in each country. Building up and working in networks were essential, and this was successfully accomplished in the OPEN project; this part is under continuous development, as working with different groups toward a shared goal brings people, organizations and resources together, it improves the quality and quantity of work and it strengthens member’s skills in mobilizing for the issue of migration risks and the prevention of human trafficking.

Lampas Foundation raises awareness among the beneficiaries on the importance of being informed before leaving the country with the promise of a better life abroad. We help our beneficiaries to confront these promises with reality; we advise them on choosing safe programs and/or job offers aboard, checking together the offer and the employment contract, the working and living conditions, the cultural background.

Within the OPEN project different workshops and seminars for exchange of experience and shared development between project members and professionals from different fields of work and with role in preventing risks situations are being organized. The next workshop will be organized in June 2016, and all project counselors and coordinators are kindly invited to attend that meeting.

The team of Lampas Foundation wishes a blessed preparation of the celebration of Easter for those who will celebrate it in May.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Galatians 2:20

The Team of Lampas Foundation,
Ottilia Vura – overall project manager, regional coordinator RO and counselor
Tamás Gergely – project coordinator

In the following we will present the results of a survey, translated from the Romanian language by our team. In the poll individuals who live in Romania were interviewed about their relatives, who were living abroad and also they were questioned if they had ever been personally abroad to work.

The study entitled "The profile of Romanians who left abroad" conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy - IRES, between 31 August - 2 September 2015, on a sample of 1,207 individuals, representing the adult population of Romania, with an error value of ±2,9%, was published in the Sinteza – culture and strategic thinking magazine in September 2015 under the title: Romania outside Romania, by authors Adriana Dîncu, Mihaela Orban, and Ionuţ Bageac.

The article in Romanian language can be found here:

Unfortunately, there are no official data on the number of Romanians who left abroad, but unofficial data estimates it around 4 million. At the end of 2014, there were 4.4 million registered employees in Romania. The study "The profile of Romanians who left abroad" conducted by the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy (IRES), shows that in almost half of the Romanian families at least one person is living in a foreign country.

46% of IRES survey participants declared that they have someone in the family, who is abroad, the percentage being higher in rural area and in the Banat, Transylvania and Moldova regions. In more than half of the Romanian families, more than 2 people are living abroad: in 22% of cases more than 4 people are abroad, in 10% of the cases 3 people are aboard, and in 22% of cases 2 people. Most families where more than 4 persons are living abroad are settled in the rural area (25.7%) and in the Moldova region (33.6%).

33% of the surveyed, who have a family member abroad, have sons or daughters abroad, and more than a quarter – 26% – has one of the brothers or sisters abroad, the rest is composed from 11% relation by marriage, 7% cousins, 5% mother/father, 5% husband/wife, 5% uncle/aunt, 5% nephew/nice, 1% distant relative.

Have those, who are living abroad, left their families in Romania?

The relatives from Romania of those who are living abroad declare the following:

  • 51% of Romanians, who are aboard have left their families at home, which means that they have gone abroad alone;
  • 49% went abroad with their families;
  • 23% of those who are abroad have left their children in the country;
  • according to those who were interviewed, in 50% of the cases the other parent took care of the child(ren), or in rare cases the uncle/aunt (5%), the grandparents (4%) or other more distant relatives (3%).

Two thirds of those who are abroad are married (65%).

How do those who are living abroad communicate with their relatives in Romania?

Relatives living in Romania said that more than a third of those who are abroad (34%) communicate daily with their families in Romania, 26% do so several times a week, 19% weekly, 6% several time a month, 7% monthly, 2% several times /a year, 6% do not know, 1% do not answer. Those who are abroad communicate with their families mostly on the phone, followed in line by social networks and email.

How often does a relative living abroad visit Romania?

A third of those who are abroad – 34% – come home several times a year; 38% come home once a year; 17% return once every other year, and 7% of them have not ever returned since they have left.

The relatives from Romania believe that the biggest problem facing those who are abroad is homesickness (10%). On the other hand, 25% of the respondents believe that those who are abroad do not experience difficulties and 35% do not know to indicate any kind of problems of their relative from aboard.

Half are abroad for seasonal work (several months or years) - mainly from rural areas and from the Moldova region, while 38% are gone for good - most of them from Transylvania, Banat and from urban areas. 66% of the relatives of those who permanently left the country believe that they will never return to Romania, while a quarter hopes that they will return.

Respondents declared that their relatives were helped by the following persons/organizations at their first departure from the country: 44% family, 31% friends, 9% employer, 4% church, 3% local authorities from the destination country, 3% the Romanian embassy or consulate, 1% Romanian community, 1% an educational institution, 18% no one.

The main factors influencing migration from Romania according to those who live in the country are low incomes (65%) and the lack of jobs (60%). Loss of job as reason was mentioned in 19% of the answers.

In which country is the relative at the moment? Answers indicated:Italy (30%), Germany (20%), Spain (17%), Great Britain (9%), France (4%), USA (4%), Austria (2%), Belgium (2%), Norway (1%), Czech Republic (1%), Canada (1%), Greece (1%), Ireland (1%), Sweden (1%), Netherlands (1%), Cyprus (1%), Australia (1%), other responses (3%), no answer (1%). 16% have been abroad for over 11 years, a third for more than 6 years, while 24% has left the country in the last 3 years.

The age of those who are living abroad. Surprisingly, more than half of those who have left the country are not very young: 57% are over 36 years (19% between 36-40 years old, 29% between 41-50 years old, 9% over 50 years old); 12% are under 25, 14% are between 26 and 30 years old, while 15% between the age of 31 and 35.

Studies of persons living abroad. 4 out of 10 Romanians who are living abroad graduated high school (40%), 20% have higher education, 4% have postgraduate studies (masters, PhD), 18% vocational school, 7% graduated 10 classes, 5% post secondary school studies, 4% gymnasium, 0.3% primary school, 1% does not know.

Working domains of Romanians living abroad. The relatives living in Romania said that their family members, who are living abroad, are working in the following fields:

  • Construction 19%
  • Caring for vulnerable persons 12%
  • Transport 8%
  • Agriculture 8%
  • Health services 7%
  • Catering 7%
  • Cleaning 6%
  • Industry 4%
  • Trade 4%
  • Tourism 3%
  • IT 2% etc.

According to the respondents, more than a third of those who are abroad work due to the following work hours: 31% are working 8 hours a day, 18% 8-10 hours a day, 16% no information, 10% more than 12 hours a day, 9% 10-12 hours a day, 8% less than 8 hours per day, 7% do not work.

The average monthly wages of the relative working abroad (in EUR). The salary of those who are working abroad is not very well known by their family in the country, 43% of the respondents say they do not know the amount, but 18% say that those who are working abroad earn up to 1,000 euro per month, 14% of the respondents indicate the amount between 1,001 and 1,500 euro, 8% say that those who are working abroad earn between 1,501-2,000 euro, 4% indicate 2,001-3,000 euro, and 2% over 3,000 euro. 4% say that their family member has no income, 7% do not respond.

63% of respondents say that their relatives who have gone abroad have managed to make savingsin the period they worked abroad. 16% of the respondents said that their relative living abroad has not managed to make savings, 16% of the respondents do not have this information.

The main destinations which they gave their saved amounts were home and family. Moreover, 57% of the respondents claim that their relatives abroad send money to their family members, many of them are from rural areas and from Moldova region, the amounts ranging between under 200 euro per month (14%) and over 500 euro a month (13%).

Who are those who were abroad and came back to Romania?

1 of 5 Romanian people (around 20% of the respondents) has been abroad to work.

Those who have already been abroad and returned to Romania are in a higher proportion men (26.7%), young people between 18 and 35 years (26.5%) and residents of Transylvania and Banat (24.7%). 12.8% are women, 23.5% are between 36-50 years old, 7.9% are over 65 years old.

45% were abroad for less than a year, 29% between 1 and 3 years, and 25% over 4 years. 29% of Romanians were in Italy, Spain (22%), Germany (13%), Belgium (4%), Greece (3%), Austria (3%), Libya (3%), USA (3%), France (3%), Turkey (3%), Great Britain (2%), Israel (2%), Hungary (1%), Cyprus (1%), Portugal (1%), Denmark (1%), Qatar (1%), Others (4%).

Those who were abroad, mostly worked in agriculture (27%), construction (20%), caring for vulnerable people (9%), transport (8%) and cleaning services (5%). Typically, men over 51 years, with secondary and higher education and from urban areas and in the South and Moldova worked in construction, while people between the age of 18 and 50 with elementary education, from rural areas and living in Transylvania, Banat and Moldova worked in the agriculture.

Three-quarters of those working abroad (74%) say they managed to make savings when they were living abroad, women, people over 65 years old and those with at least average education managed to make savings in a higher proportion than other categories. The savings had two main destinations: home and family.

Homesickness is the main reason that half of those working abroad returned to Romania (49%). 7% returned after the employment contract expired or because they lost their jobs, 6% were not able to adapt, and the rest for other reasons.

More than 8 out of 10 of those who lived abroad did not request the services of embassies or consulates of Romania during their staying abroad. From 16% of those who have used these services, 64% said they were satisfied with the interaction with the embassies or consulates, while 36% say the opposite.

More than half of those who worked abroad (58%) say they would not be willing to leave again, but the other 38% would return abroad. Those who would agree to leave again are mostly men, youth between 18 and 35 years, people with middle and high education and those who live in Transylvania.

More than half of those who would be willing to repeat the experience of living abroad, would do so only with the family (57%) – more women, young people between 18 and 35 year old, people with higher education and those who live in the South of Romania belong to this category; while 36% would accept to leave alone – this category being dominated by men, people over 65 year, with average education and those who live in Moldova.

30% of the respondents say that they would repeat the experience of working abroad for a monthly salary less than 1,000 euro, 10% for more than 3,000 euro, 25% for salaries between 1,000-1,500 euro, 19% for 1,501-2,000 euro and 3% between 2001-3000 euro.

The opinion of Romanians about those who are leaving the country.

Three-quarters of respondents say they have good and very good opinion about Romanians who temporarily leave the country to work abroad and this drops to 63% in case of those who are permanently leaving the country.

72% of respondents believe that Romania is losing because of the departure of Romanian people to work abroad – the perceived major losses are: workforce (28%), people – decline of population (17%), professionals (15%), good, intelligent, valuable people (14%), while 15% believe that the country earns by their departure – money sent/brought into the country (59%) and the investments being made in the country (13%) are considered the most important.

According to the statistics of the National Bank of Romania, in the last 14 years (2000-2014), Romanians working abroad sent home 61.6 billion euro, which is 5 billion more than foreign direct investment brought in the same period to Romania.

Economists have often an apocalyptic scenario: as the birth rate is decreasing, Romanians who are now the active workforce in the country, will no longer be sustained in retirement.

Mit besten Grüßen,

Tamás Gergely
Stiftung Lampas, Oradea
Telefonnummer: (004) 0741682619
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