«М57 МИГРАЦИОННЫЕ МОСТЫ В ЕВРАЗИИ: Сборник докладов и материалов участников II международной научно-практической кон- ференции Регулируемая миграция – реальный путь сотрудничества ...»
Partially ethnic in its character, somehow expected if one takes into account the dimension of the Hungarian ethnic minority in Romania and the policy towards the Hungarians abroad promoted by the Hungarian state, the flow to Hungary rises classification problems. Ethnic unmixing migration is based on a powerful ethnic selectivity promoted and encouraged by the "mother" nation state's policy. In the case of Hungarian ethnics' living in Romania, the Hungarian state actively encouraged identification processes without necessarily encouraging the "return" (Fox, 2009). Specifically because of this, migration of the Hungarian ethnics to Hungary can be more considered as work migration, with the advantage of a rapid integration on the host labour market, facilitated by the language and cultural similarities (Horvath, 2009).
The same period (1990-1995) is one of the first Romanians' attempts for work migration. Turkey and Israel were the main destinations (Sandu, 2010). In the case of Turkey, the suitcase migration was the strategy opening the way for work migration.
Israel founded in Romania the needed replacement of the workforce recruited in its neighbouring region (Diminescu, Berthomiere, 2003). Germany, Hungary and Italy are "second rank" destinations for the same period (Sandu, 2010).
During the first years of the 1990's, the forth and back movements, on short term basis, for petty commerce to the neighbouring countries (former Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Republic of Moldova) has substantially developed. Once the fall of the communist regime, hundreds of thousand Romanians were involved in “suitcase migration”. The practice was not performed in the long run – around 2002 the petty trade was restricted to the bordering areas (Sandu et al., 2004), but it probably has had an important structuring impact on Romanian emigration: for many Romanians the petty trade was only the first phase of migratory trajectories heading for Western Europe (Diminescu, 2003).
In the middle of the 1990’s, the patterns began to change: work migration, mostly spontaneous, gained momentum as main migratory type and the departures headed for the Southern areas of Europe. Italy became the main destination country, followed by Israel. Spain also started to attract more and more Romanians (Sandu, 2006).
The restrictions imposed by Israel on Romanians’ access to its labour market in the second part of the 1990’s and the freedom to travel into the Schengen space without a visa (starting with the 1st of January 2002) are the events facilitating the transition to a new phase.
Starting with 2002, the departures abroad mainly head for two destinations:
Italy and Spain (Sandu, 2010). It is about migrations developed on the basis of migration networks, pushed by the poor performance of the Romanian economy after 1990, pulled by the needs of the destination countries labour markets, migration projects managed on the edge of legality. Germany and Hungary, well behind Italy and Spain as number of departures (ibid), has continued to attract Romanians.
They are the few destinations to resist to the changes within the Romanian migration system during the first decade of its development.
In 2007, Romania’s accession to the EU opened the perspective of a new, fourth phase (Sandu, 2010). For Romanians, the achieved right of free circulation as European citizens has reduced once again the risks and costs associated with migration to the EU countries. Although the stock of Romanians living abroad has increased, the estimations do not point to a process similar to 2002: if for 2006, the estimations indicate 2.2 million Romanians living abroad, two years later, in 2008, the figure increased to 2.8 million (Sandu & Alexandru, 2009).
Economic global crisis, seriously affecting the main destinations of Romanian migration, pushed a part of Romanians back home. The few studies available on the phenomenon (see Stoiciu, 2011) do not point to a massive return.
Developing policies to address emigration. In one of his papers on migration policymaking, G. P. Freeman states: "The dynamics of migration flows foster misperceptions about their characteristics and consequences that amount to a systematic tendency toward 'temporal illusion'" (1995: 883). The author was referring the host societies’ tendency to underestimate the phenomenon pace of development and effects in the long run. Yet, his statement seems to equally apply to the origin areas: until the end of the former century, the emigration was mainly a silent characteristic of Romanian society. The first research projects and academic papers referring it were initiated/published around 2000 (erban, 2011). IOM Romania’s project (2001) aiming to provide a first picture of Romanian emigration (see Sandu, 2000 on this), the results of the second census (2002) after 1990 and results of some surveys (especially Public Opinion Barometer series of the Soros Foundation) were the basis to make available to the public the first estimations of the number of Romanians living/working abroad. In 2000, without being noticed, the economic migration has already drawn hundreds of thousand Romanians abroad (for the beginning of 2001, B. Voicu (2005) estimates the number of Romanians working abroad at about 580,000 individuals and migration experience for about 10% of the households).
Even though the emigration was substantive at the end of the century, until 2000, the interest for migration policies (either in the form of immigration or emigration) was marginal in Romania (see also on this Baldwin-Edwards, 2005;
Constantin et al., 2004).
Yet, in my opinion, the period of 1990-1999 can be identified as the first phase in the migration policymaking process, one characterised by a laissez faire attitude towards emigration, but by a consistent effort to create the system of rules and institutions to deal with persons’ rights to move.
At the end of the communist period, Romania found itself in an accentuated international isolation, without the experience of managing the free travel abroad of its own citizens. The country lacked the system of rules and institutions specific to democratic governance, able to secure the exercise of basic rights concerning the international circulation of persons. The first decade after 1990 was mainly one of construction in this direction. The process was slow and difficult. The period was one of intense circulation abroad for Romanians (see the previous section) and the authorities should continuously adapt the newly created rules to the reality of a population more and more mobile. Yet, stating the complete lack of preoccupations concerning emigration would be false. Several measures, reactive in their essence, mainly concerning the temporary contract emigration have been implemented.
During 1990-1999 Romania has signed few bilateral labour agreements (Diminescu, 2004, erban & Stoica, 2007), most of them with Germany. The agreements were part of the (new) German recruitment program implemented at the beginning of the 1990's2 (Castles, 2006).
In 1996, the first structure (a special commission) dealing with the protection of the Romanians working abroad was created under the umbrella of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. It was more a response of the authorities to repeated media reports on the abuses of the companies recruiting Romanian workers for Israeli labour market. The Commission was strictly in charge with controlling the companies mediating the contract migration to Israel. There was no extension of its activity to the companies recruiting Romanian workers for other destinations.
The year 2000 was the starting point of one of the most important processes defining the post-1989 country development: then, EU initiated accession negotiations with Romania. The event can be also considered as marking the beginning of a new phase in the migration policy making of the country.
In the perspective of EU accession, Romania has had to implement consistent reforms to adapt to the acquis communautaire. Even though, as M. Baldwin-Edwards points, "the acquis has little or nothing to say" (2005: 1) on emigration or return migration, starting with 2000 Romania has intensified the actions concerning the international circulation of its own citizens. The interventions were not so much related to the aquis but to the pressure of the EU’s member states, fearing an uncontrolled invasion from one of the poorest and most populated non-EU countries of the continent. The supranational structure to which Romania was striving to integrate was including the main destinations of Romanian emigration.
In the context of highly restrictionist migration policies of the post-guest worker Even though the first agreement was signed no later than 1991, Romanians' participation to the overall German program was rather marginal (Castles, 2006).
period in Europe (Castles, 2006), the expansion of unregulated economic migration of Romanians was a challenging perspective. Pressures for controlling and regulating the departures, especially before signing the accession treaty (2005) profoundly shaped the Romanian state's choices in managing its emigration.
Two major areas of intervention can be identified. The first, most consistent, was directed to enhance the temporary (contract) emigration for work, including here the efforts to protect Romanians while working abroad. The second was directed to strengthen the control of exits and returns in the country, as an indirect mean for controlling spontaneous emigration. The two directions were related one to another, both heading to reduce the irregular component of the Romanian migration abroad.
Under the first direction, several types of measure were adopted. The first type was directed to the control of the recruiters acting on Romanian market. Even though, out of total of Romanians departures abroad the share mediated by recruiting companies seemed to stay each year at a low level (OECD, 2007), the intervention is justified from the perspective of protecting the workers. A second type consisted in inserting the Romanian state as a direct participant on the recruitment market. The Office for Labour Migration Abroad was set up in 2002 under the umbrella of the Ministry of Work and Social Protection and became the main institution in charge with implementing the bilateral labour agreements signed by Romania. The effort to sign bilateral agreements also accelerated (Diminescu, 2004;
erban & Stoica, 2007), but, in fact, the only new consistent agreement was concluded with Spain (at the time of signing the agreement, Spain was already one important destination for spontaneous migration). During the entire period its functioning (2002-2007), the Office has increased its activity, reaching a maximum of 53,029 contracts mediated in 2006 (90% of departures heading to two countries:
Germany and Spain) (erban, 2011). Yet, if one connects this figure with the estimated number of Romanians working abroad for the same period, the Office activity can be mainly characterised as minor.
Maybe more important than involving in mediating departures abroad, the Romanian authorities have tried to design a system of protecting from origin area Romanians working abroad. Changes in the attribution of the Ministry of Labour and Social Work and the set-up of new institutional structures (The Department for Romanians Working Abroad with its attached Body of Attachs on work related and social problems) have had as goals to raise the awareness of Romanians about the risks of illegally working abroad, helping them to find the appropriate employment outside the country, and offering them consultancy in work-related problems at destination.
The second big direction followed during the 2000-2006 includes more unspecific interventions, designed to control spontaneous migration through controlling exits and returns.
The control Romanian authorities exerted on exits during 2002-2006 is probably one of the most interesting type of measures introduced in the attempt to manage emigration from origin. Even though, Romania is a democracy guaranteeing to its citizens the right of free exit and return to the country through Constitution, at the end of 2001, a Government Ordinance imposed some conditions to be met by travellers going out of the country "for private reasons". Basically it was about proofs that while travelling abroad the individuals have means to secure their stay and return. In the case of those unable to meet the conditions, the custom officers could deny the right to exit the country. The imposed measures are in clear connection with, at that time envisaged visa free circulation of Romanians into the Schengen Space. Romanian authorities justified them by EU’s members’ pressure to level down Romanians’ irregular movements. The interesting aspect is that Romanian authorities basically took over the remote control function (Zolberg, 2006) of the visa system of destination countries. It seems that Romania was the only country of those joining EU in the last two waves (2004 and 2007) implementing this kind of restrictions. The consequences on migration are difficult to evaluate, but rising the costs of departures, the measures reduced the easy access to migration. Definitely they boosted the development of the "industry of migration" (Castles, 2007) in Romania (especially in the transportation field), opening a new market for those able to speculate the discrepancy between the pressure to migrate and the limited access to migration.
The control of exits can be interpreted only in conjunction with another set of measures aiming to press Romanian citizens to conform the conditions of visa free circulation within the Schengen Space. Restrictions of the right of free circulation were the main mechanism for sanctioning those individuals returning to the country on the base of a readmission agreement or “overstaying” in the Schengen Space. If the first provision affected a relatively limited number of persons (out of the total migration), the second probably had a contribution in shaping the length of stay abroad, at least since 2003 on. Restricting the right of free circulations had the meaning of blocking for a period of time a new exit out of the country. As any measure of this type, it probably negatively affected the circularity of movements (Agunias & Newland, 2007), pressing migrants to remain at destination until regularising their status in the host country.
In 2007 Romania joined EU as a full member. The event is marking the start of a new phase in the migration policy making. The number of Romanians living abroad was already substantial and a new increase was expected at that time as a consequence of the new reduction in the costs and risks of migration. The same old fear of invasion surrounded the accession. In 2007, except for Sweden and Finland, none of the other old members of the EU opened their labour market for Romanians. Again, data about Romanian migration contradicted the fears. This time, Romanian authorities proved less sensitive to the signals of concern, embracing the idea of “mobility” and not “migration”. As the bulk of Romanian migration was heading for European destinations and Romanians had the right of free circulation as European citizens, the interest for work migration substantially diminished. The institutions set up during the pre-accession period to directly manage the work migration were simply re-organised and their duties were taken over by other existing structures of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. The National Agency for Employment took over the task of managing the bilateral labour agreements and EURES system become the new mean of putting into practice the contract mobility.
If after accession to the EU the interest of the Government in mediating contract migration has diminished, the interested in Romanian communities living abroad has consistently increased.