On the border of the Black Sea in southeastern Europe rests Romania, a country nestled between Ukraine and Bulgaria. With a population of roughly 21.6 million and one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union, the nation has agreed to welcome refugees. The country has been willing to help refugees but is often left without the necessary resources to do so. Here are 10 facts about refugees in Romania:
- In November 2015, Romania agreed to welcome 6,205 refugees over the course of two years. Over 550 had entered the country by December 2016.
- In Romania, the government covers the expenses of individuals granted refugee status for six months to one year. After this period of time, those individuals are expected to be employed.
- Despite the six to 12 month grace period, refugees are required obtain an understanding of the Romanian language as well as some formal recognition of previous experience, academic degrees or other qualifications. Rarely are such documents easily available to refugees.
- Civil society organizations, rather than Romanian authorities, are often left with the task of offering refugees much-needed employment assistance.
- The Romanian Ministry of Labor does not assist refugees with their job searches; it only registers refugees in an unemployment database.
- Learning Romanian has been described by refugees as being a key factor to succeeding in the country. Unfortunately, Romania’s language courses have little structure and are often of low quality.
- Roughly 5,000 individuals have been granted Romanian refugee protection since 1991, yet only 2,584 individuals hold residency permits. Such numbers suggest that nearly half of Romania’s refugee population no longer reside in the country.
- Relocated persons in Romania can benefit from the Jesuit Refugee Service, which runs a project called “A New House.” The project aids refugees in finding affordable housing.
- Many refugees in Romania who arrived in 2016 were relocated by the European Union from Greece and Italy.
- Romania lacks resources for refugees, so the country is not receiving the waves of refugees that are entering other European countries. Therefore, Romania has relatively more time to plan exactly how to address the issue of refugee protection.
These facts about refugees in Romania may appear to be disheartening, but if the Romanian government can tackle the issue of resource allocation with thorough planning, the country may soon become a stable safe haven for refugees fleeing war-torn countries.
– Shannon Golden