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Irregular Migration | Romania |

Romania Background Information Historical Trends Immigration/ Emigration Citizenship Refuge and Asylum Irregular Migration Current Issues Future Challenges References

Irregular Migration

István Horváth

/ 2 Minuten zu lesen

Romania has been, and still is, mainly a source country (and to some extent a transit country) for irregular migration.

Irregular practices (crossing the green border, residence in various countries without proper legal forms, etc.) became popular under the Communist regime, when avenues for legal migration were rather restricted, both for Romanians and for most foreign citizens travelling through Romania.

However, even after the fall of Communism, labour migration from Romania was overwhelmingly irregular, as the majority of the Western European countries imposed entrance visas for Romanian citizens, making legal access to these countries rather difficult. This has since changed, and regularization programs, like those in Italy, have given many labour migrants with Romanian citizenship legal residence status and access to employment in some countries of destination. Nevertheless, it is estimated that a considerable number of the Romanian labour migrants were still irregulars in 2006, perhaps encouraged by the prospects of periodic regularization campaigns. For example, estimates place the number of irregular Romanian residents in Italy at 600 000, which is in addition to the 300 000 legal Romanian residents recorded by Italian authorities in 2005.

Human trafficking

During the 1990s, Romania became both a source and a transit country (for persons originating from Moldova, Ukraine and Russia) of human trafficking, with victims (including children) being trafficked to various places in the Balkan states as well as Italy, Spain, France and beyond. In 2002, the International Organisation for Migration estimated that as many as 20 000 women were trafficked from Romania each year ; according to some estimates, 10-15% of them are minors.

Trafficking in children is a particularly alarming phenomenon, with Romania being counted among the major southeastern European countries of origin. Considerable pressure has been placed on the Romanian authorities to implement more effective policies for addressing the problem. Since 2001 a set of policy measures have been developed, among them a law to combat and prevent human trafficking. Since 2003, actions have become more focused on child trafficking. At the beginning of 2004, the government presented a Draft National Plan of Action for Preventing and Combating Trafficking with Children. Besides the enforcement of regulations meant to prevent or sanction trafficking, special institutions were set up to assist victims, including centres that underage victims of trafficking can return to and centres where adult victims of trafficking can receive counselling.

Despite these sustained efforts, a monitoring agency of the United States State Department, which conducts its efforts within the larger OSCE framework, and which is specialised in assessing the effectiveness of anti-trafficking policies, still listed Romania among the countries with a serious trafficking problem in 2006. While significant efforts are being made, the country has not managed to comply fully with the minimum standards of the US Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000.



  1. See Bleahu (2006).

  2. See Lăzăroiu (2000).

  3. See Commission of the European Communities (2002).

  4. See Limanowska (2005).

  5. See Dotrridge (2006) and Kane (2005).

  6. See Miko (2007).

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