Why do Moldovans leave? Under what conditions can they return? IPN debates

The Republic of Moldova is facing massive and lasting migration of its citizens. According to unofficial reports, about one third of the country’s population is directly related to this phenomenon. Indirectly, the whole society is affected as there are practically no Moldovan citizens who do not have someone from their family or close friends living or having lived abroad or who are thinking about leaving. On the other hand, even those who have never left and will never go abroad are affected in a very direct and very significant way by this phenomenon, like the country as a whole, in all its aspects. The proportions, categories, destinations, reasons and effects of migration, but also the chances for at least a certain part of those who migrated to return home and who should do something and what for as many of them as possible to return were discussed by the experts invited to IPN”s public debate “Why do the Moldovans leave? Under what conditions can they return?”.

Igor Boțan, the permanent expert of IPN’s project, said that migration is any territorial movement of the population associated with crossing both external and internal borders of administrative-territorial entities in order to change the place of permanent residence or temporary stay for studies or work, regardless of the predominant influence. The term migration is generic and there are also more nuanced notions, such as emigration and immigration.

“Emigration doesn’t necessarily involve the obtaining or changing of nationality. The opposite process – immigration – means coming to the country for permanent residence. Diaspora is a term that includes the entire population of Moldovans outside the Republic of Moldova, who hold the country’s citizenship. Usually, the term doesn’t encompass the native Moldovans from other countries, such as those living in Ukraine, for example,” stated Igor Boțan.

According to him, the general causes of migration are related to intensifying contacts between persons, peoples and cultures, developing international cooperation, increased people’s mobility, etc. Today migration became a global phenomenon, amounting to 250 million migrants. In the Republic of Moldova, the maintenance of migration intensity is determined by a number of factors, such as profound social, economic and political transformations in the country. It also goes to the search for better social and economic opportunities, social relations, internationalisation of marriages, cultures, but also demographic decline, low urbanisation and uneven completion of the labour market. Ethnic, cultural, religious and other factors also persist.

“The subjects of migration policy include the central and local public authorities, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova, foreign citizens and stateless persons entering or leaving the Republic of Moldova. In the Republic of Moldova, migration issues are regulated on the basis of international legislation, bilateral interstate agreements in special fields and national legislation. The national migration framework covers several aspects, such as prevention and combating of illegal migration and trafficking in human beings; labour migration; rights and interests of refugees and migrants, control of migration processes, etc.” said Igor Boțan.

Demographer Valeriu Sainsus, associate professor of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, said that migration is not a new phenomenon. In fact, excessive emigration began with the free movement of population, immediately after the 1990s. “In the short term, we actually won because we saved our economic situation, but we lost because of migration as most of the migrants are already citizens and members of the societies in which they settled. The losses are large because migration is long-lasting, because most of the time we expect them to return to the country. But, in fact, they are people integrated into the societies in which they settled,” noted the demographer.

According to him, the data of the current census will show the picture of the present. But, based on the 2014 census data, close to 300,000 people are outside the country. “Every year we lose 2% of our population – the equivalent of about two medium-sized villages in Moldova. Do more people leav villages or cities? They leave mainly villages and this is due to the fact that we have 60% of the population in rural areas, but also to the strictly economic context – jobs. The economic ground remans the main cause of emigration from the Republic of Moldova. And this is because 90% of them are looking for a job,” stated Valeriu Sainsus.

The associate professor doesn’t deny the fact that a large part of the population also leaves for studies abroad, but very few of them return back. From a long-term perspective, this plays a trick on the state, namely because many of them do not return. As regards the question if there are still potential individuals or members of society who would like to emigrate, the latest study confirms that in fact, more than 15% of the population of the Republic of Moldova has emigration intentions.

“There are many aspects, including in the context in which emigration has greatly deepened the aging of the population. We must say it openly: emigration or migration in general in the Republic of Moldova is a priority of young people, especially young families. In the context of emigration, a valuable enough segment is not controlled, that of reproduction. The latest data confirm that more than 16,000 people were born outside the country, which is quite valuable in the context of the generation circuit in the country,” said the demographer.

Dorina Roșca, president of the Paris-based European Institute for Development Studies (Institut Européen d'Etudes du Développement), said that it is quite hard to estimate the quantitative aspect of migration. This is because the exact number of people who left is unknown.

“It has always been the dilemma of statistical work on this issue. The figures of those who left are put at closer to a million or over a million citizens and I tend to believe them. To remain correct in terms of terminology used in this regard, it would probably be fair to say that over one million Moldovans have experienced migration during their existence. So, among these million or so Moldovans with migratory experience, many are so-called pendular migrants. This means that they leave, stay there for a while, for a few months to a year. They come back, stay and then leave again and they come back again,” explained Dorina Roșca, national consultant of the International Organization for Migration for the Diaspora Relations Bureau of the State Chancellery of the Government of the Republic of Moldova.

According to her, this category of pendular migrants must be taken into account when it comes to the phenomenon of migration. It matters because these pendular migrants play a very important role in the dynamics of Moldovan society namely because they leave, come back, bring something, keep in touch with the country of origin.

“The first waves of migrants, those of the 1990s, but also of the beginning of the 2000s, until 2005-2006, when we reached a paroxysmal threshold, were characterized mainly by a population – not the unskilled one, but by a population that from an economic point of view was somehow marginalized in that era within our socioeconomic system. So, we are talking here about people who lost their jobs as a result of the restructuring of enterprises, privatizations, etc. From a socio-educational point of view, I think we cannot differentiate too much because those waves included people with higher education and without higher education. So, those waves took with them a wide range of professionals from all the socio-professional categories and qualifications. Subsequently, those first waves generated other waves of emigration, especially by restoring families abroad,” stated Dorina Roșca.

The PhD in developmental socio-economics said that she forms part of the waves characterized by academic mobility. She went abroad, but not with the aim of working somewhere, but left to study. In her opinion, it is important to make this distinction because it generates different dynamics. Those who will go to work or economic emigrants, who absorbed a part of the qualified labor force of the Republic of Moldova, arriving in the host countries started with unskilled work. Others managed to start from scratch, to study, to obtain qualifications. And yet, these marginal categories relate to a general trend. But there are also those who went to study, graduated with a diploma, integrated, found a job and had another path,” said the national consultant of the International Organization for Migration for the Diaspora Relations Office.

The public debate entitled “Why do the Moldovans leave? Under what conditions can they return?” was the 306th installment of the project “Developing political culture through public debates”, which is carried out by IPN News Agency with the support of the German “Hanns Seidel” Foundation.

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.