Connecticut, US

Oct 03 2018

Government Proposes to Ease Immigration Requirements


At a Glance

The Romanian government plans to significantly ease immigration eligibility requirements for foreign nationals under many visa schemes by eliminating restrictions such as a national quota, the labor market test requirement, the EU Blue Card program salary threshold and certain educational requirements. If approved and implemented, these changes would significantly reduce administrative burdens for hiring foreign workers.

The situation

The Romanian government plans to significantly ease immigration eligibility requirements for foreign nationals.

A closer look

If the changes are approved as indicated in the pilot program, the below changes would go into effect through 2023:

  • Elimination of quota. Work authorizations would no longer be limited to an annual national quota, which applies to all work authorization types.
    • Impact. There would be no limit on the entry of foreign workers.
    • Background. Although work authorization quotas were significantly increased in 2018 to meet the need for more foreign workers, immigration applications were still facing rejections toward the end of every year due to quota exhaustion.

  • Elimination of labor market testing. Employers would no longer be required to search for local qualified staff before hiring a foreign worker and would instead be required to recruit foreign workers responsibly. It is not yet clear how the government would monitor compliance with this standard.
    • Impact. Local hires’ work permit applications would be processed around one to two months faster since employers would no longer need to publish the position in local newspapers, notify the vacancy to the National Agency for Labor Force Occupation, and track candidates’ applications.
    • Background. Since labor market testing currently renders few qualified local candidates, Fragomen expects this change to have limited impact on local employment in practice.

  • Elimination of educational requirements. Foreign nationals would no longer be required to hold a certain level of education to qualify for work authorization and would no longer require the certification of their diploma by the Romanian Ministry of Education, which is currently required for all long-term permit types.
    • Impact.
      • Previously ineligible EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit, EU Blue Card and Local Hire applicants, who must meet certain educational requirements to qualify for a work permit, would become eligible for work authorization. 
      • Without the need for a certified diploma, applications would be processed approximately one month faster.
      • However, since certain positions in Romania still require specialized studies, it is not yet clear yet how the authorities or employers would monitor compliance with this rule without requiring foreign nationals to submit certified proof of education.

  • Elimination of EU Blue Card Salary threshold. EU Blue Card applicants would no longer have to receive a salary of RON 16,648 gross per month.
    • Impact. More applicants would qualify for the EU Blue Card, drawing more highly-educated workers to Romania.
    • Background. The EU Blue Card category has not become the favored permit type for highly- skilled foreign workers as EU authorities expected, with many EU countries retaining their national permit types and introducing prohibitively high eligibility criteria for the EU Blue Card.

Looking ahead

The government is drafting a formal legislative proposal to submit these changes to the Romanian parliament. If the parliament approves the proposal, the changes would be introduced as a five-year pilot program until 2023, after which the government will consider extending it.

Eased requirements for the EU ICT Permit option in Romania could influence companies’ EU mobility strategies. Employers should screen their vacancies and candidate pool to identify opportunities for medium-skilled foreign workers and/or workers with limited formal education.

Fragomen invites interested employers to contact their local Fragomen representative to discuss the options for strategic staff planning in Romania and/or the European Union.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].