Migration in Romania

In Romania, work migration became a widespread phenomenon after 1989.3 A series of political events were crucial in the crystallisation of migration trends, such as the liberalisation of access to Schengen states for Romanians that took place in 2002, and European Union membership which was granted in 2007 (Sandu 2005). The official laws and regulations of Romanian international migration became more and more lax and, subsequently, the selectivity of the phenomenon gradually decreased—leaving for work became easier. Leaving became a possibility for more and more people because the risks and costs involved by the actual departure shrank. Simultaneously, the conditions at the destination followed an opposite path. The increase in the allowed cross-border mobility of citizens meant the increase of the number of Romanian migrants, which in turn resulted in the rise of available labour force and increased competition for available jobs. These changes provided the environment that allowed social networks to maintain their importance, even though their significance shifted from the origin to the destination (from resources for making the decision to migrate, to resources for finding acceptable accommodation and jobs).

Between 2002 and 2006 Spain and Italy became, and still are, the most important destinations for Romanian migrants (Sandu 2005). Spain, as a preferred destination, is associated with Muntenia, a region in the SouthEastern part of Romania. It is also the main destination for migrants from Seaca, the commune discussed in this chapter. The present study does not aim to offer an exhaustive analysis of the reasons behind immigrants’ preference of Spain over other destination countries. Factors ranging from cultural proximity and language similarity, to tolerance towards immigrants at the destination are all part of potential explanations. After relocating to Spain, people find jobs mainly in construction (men) and domestic labour (women). Another economic sector at the destination is agriculture. While household and construction jobs are associated with finding employment opportunities by migrants in the recipient country, working in agriculture is often a choice involving potential migrants’ participation in a preselection process organised in Romania by private firms acting as brokers: providing valuable services for both migrants (securing their workplace) and their Spanish employers (securing work force for them).

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