2022 saw the largest number of Romanians who have definitively emigrated since 1991


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Almost 50,000 Romanians permanently emigrated from Romania in 2022, according to data provided by the National Institute of Statistics. In the last 10 years, Romania has lost through permanent external migration the equivalent of the population of a medium-sized county.

These are only the permanent emigrants, in addition to them there are also temporary ones, who leave either to study or to work but who return to the country.

The most numerous number of Romanians leaving the country for good comes from Bucharest – 2.4%, followed by Iasi with 2.39%, Vaslui-2.28%, and at the other end we have Harghita and Covasna with less than 0.5%.

Most of the permanent leavers headed for Italy – 8,412, for Germany – 7,642, Spain – 7,356, Austria – 3,415, Canada-1,972, France – 1,635, USA – 1,349. Other destinations preferred by the Romanians last year were Switzerland, Hungary, Sweden, Greece, Australia, Israel or Slovakia.

There are, also Romanians who go to study abroad. According to UNESCO, there are more than 15,000 of them and most study in the UK (almost 10,000), the USA (another 4,903), the Netherlands (about 2,800), Germany (2,500), France (2,439), Hungary (2,200), Denmark (1,724). ), Spain (1425), Italy (1400), Austria (1120), Switzerland (428), Belgium (381), Sweden (219), Lithuania (206), Greece (197), Turkey (151), Finland (119 ), Canada (about 100). Romania has less than 100 students and in each of the countries: Ireland, Czech Republic, Australia, Norway, Portugal, Japan, Poland, Luxembourg, South Korea, Croatia, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, Brazil, Argentina, Serbia, Estonia, Qatar, Iceland, Ecuador, Slovenia, Monaco and India.

According to an OECD study dedicated to Romanian emigrants, in countries such as the United Kingdom and Austria, approximately one in five Romanians work in highly skilled jobs. Conversely, in Spain and Italy, only 5% of Romanian emigrants hold highly qualified occupations.

Romanian emigrants are generally overqualified for the jobs they hold

In OECD countries, one Romanian man out of 5 works in elementary occupations, compared to one woman out of 3. Women are also over-represented among those who have found a job in sales (30% compared to 10% of men ) and among technicians and professionals (10% vs. 6% of men). Only 4% of women work in trade, while men are much more numerous. Another typically male occupation is plant and machine operators and assemblers, where the share of men is four times higher than that of women.

However, the situation at country level is mixed. In Spain, Romanian women are twice as likely as men to work in low-skilled occupations, in contrast to Germany and the United Kingdom, where women occupying low-skilled jobs are 10 times less likely. The share of women in low-skilled jobs is the lowest in Canada (3%).

Romanian men tend to be over-represented compared to women and in management positions, especially in the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada, with the notable exception of France, where Romanian women are almost twice as likely as men to be managers . Skilled agricultural professions are not the main occupation of Romanians, regardless of their gender, although they employ over 4% of emigrant men in Spain, Italy and France.

Also, over-qualification rates are higher for Romanian emigrants than for emigrants from other countries, OECD data also show. Over-qualification occurs when a person’s level of education is greater than the skills required for the job they hold.

Among immigrants, the overqualification rate becomes an indicator of the degree of transferability of human capital between countries, since qualifications and language skills acquired in the country of origin are not always easily transferable to the host country. Regardless of gender, Romanians with higher education have a 50% probability of working in low-skilled occupations. The share is only 26% for similar migrants born in neighboring countries.

However, what is even more remarkable is the fact that over-qualification has increased over the last 20 years by 16% for Romanians, while for emigrants from neighboring countries, it has decreased by 7%. These results could reflect Romanians’ relatively low knowledge of the language spoken in the host country, limited access to professional networks or difficult formal recognition of skills acquired abroad, to name just a few of the multitude of factors influencing employment.

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