EU Resettlement Network

Romania

    Source: ICMC Europe, Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive guide to resettlement, 2013

    The Welcome to Europe Romania country chapter is available here for download.

    Resettlement quota & actors

    Start of ad-hoc or pilot programme: 2008

    Most recent quota: 40

    Main national actors: Ministry of Administration & Interior, General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director for Asylum & Integration (DAI), Romanian Red Cross, ARCA Romanian Forum for Refugees and Migrants, Save the Children Romania, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Romania.

    Resettlement numbers

    Year Accepted Arrivals Nationality⇒Country of asylum of largest groups Ethnic and other minorities (if applicable)
    2013 anticipated 40   Iraqi⇒Turkey  
    2012        
    2011        
    2010 38 38 Burmese⇒Malaysia Kachin
    2009        

     

    UNHCR Submission categories considered for resettlement –no submission priorities are established in Romania for refugees with specific needs.

    10 persons shall fall under the category ”women and children at risk”

    X Legal and physical protection needs

    Survivors of violence and torture

    Medical Needs

    X Women and girls at risk  - 10 persons

    Family reunification

    X Children and adolescents at risk

    Lack of foreseeable alternative solutions

    UNHCR Priority levels accepted (with sub-quota where applicable)

    Emergency maximum 7 days between submission and resettlement

    Urgent  maximum 6 weeks between submission and resettlement

    X Normal  maximum 12 months between submission and resettlement

     

    Romania's resettlement programme

    Legal Basis & Background

    The Law no. 122/2006 on Asylum in Romania provides the general legal framework for refugee status eligibility (Art.3).  The Government Decision no. 1596/2008 included specific information on criteria, quota and procedures for resettlement in Romania.  This decision expired in 2010 and was extended by Government Decision no. 810/2012.  The National Committee for Refugee Resettlement, a consultative body made up of representatives from the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, makes annual recommendations for the countries of asylum and refugee groups that the Romanian resettlement programme should focus on for the coming year.  The Committee bases its recommendations on factors including UNHCR's defined global resettlement needs, Romania's foreign policy and the joint resettlement priorities of the European Union.  The Committee's recommendations must be approved by 2 government ministers prior to being communicated to UNHCR. 

    Romania has also contributed to global resettlement efforts through the establishment of an Emergency Transit Facility (ETF)in Timisoara in 2008.  The ETF facilitates transfers of refugees who for reasons of security urgently need to be removed from a country of asylum, but have not yet been accepted for resettlement to a third country.  Refugees that are accommodated by the ETF do not stay in Romania, and are instead always transferred to a third country.

    Resettlement Criteria

    Basic criteria: Persons eligible for resettlement must:

    • be recognised as such according to the 1951 Convention on Refugee Status by a State or by UNHCR;
    • not benefit from an effective protection on the territory of the country of asylum;
    • not have integration perspectives in the country of asylum;
    • not have perspectives for voluntary repatriation to the country of origin under conditions of safety and dignity;
    • not present a threat to public order, national security, health or public morals; and
    • have expressly accepted to be resettled to Romania.

    Criteria related to integration: Romania also considers how far the refugee demonstrates potential for integration in Romanian society during the selection process, and require refugees to meet minimum health status requirements set by the Ministry of Health.

    Identification and Selection

    All submissions for resettlement are made by UNHCR.  All pre-selected refugees are interviewed by representatives from the Ministry of the Interior during selection missions, and individual medical evaluations are carried out by a doctor travelling with the Romanian delegation. The selection mission team which consists in 6-7 persons (decision officers, integration officers, registration officers, medical and psychological staff) drafts initial decisions which need to be approved by the Director General of RIO.  Processing time between submissions and decisions is 10 working days and processing time between submission and departure is approximately 2 months.

    Refugee Status, Permanent Residency & Citizenship

    Resettled refugees enter Romania as 'transferred persons'.  They are then legally recognised as refugees by the Ministry of the Interior and issued with a 3-year residence permit via a process concluded approximately 30 days after their arrival.

    After 5 years of continuous residency,refugees may apply for a permanent residence permit if no action has been taken regarding their removal from the national territory.

    Those wishing to naturalise as Romanian citizens must meet the requirements set out in the 1991 Romanian Citizenship Law, which require applicants to:

    • have been residing on the Romanian territory for at least 4 years;
    • prove attachment to the Romanian state and people by his/her behaviour and attitude;
    • have reached 18 years of age;
    • have a legal means of providing for him/herself;
    • have a general good behaviour and no convictions in the country or abroad for a crime that makes him/her unworthy of being a Romanian citizen; and
    • have a good knowledge of the Romanian language, history, geography and Romanian institutions enabling him/her to integrate him/herself in the Romanian social life.

    Being naturalised as a Romanian citizen always results in the loss of the applicant's former nationality.

    Family reunification

    Besides the married partners, children under 18 and parents of children under 18, other family members who are eligible for family reunification include:

    • Children over 18 if they are single and unable to support themselves for medical reasons.
    • Parents and parents-in-law of adult legal residents if they are unable to support themselves and if they lack family support in their country of origin.

    The sponsor has to prove that he/she has sufficient income to support the family member or relative as well as appropriate accommodation.

    resettlement in practice

    Linking Phases

    How is information transferred between selection and reception of refugees in order to prepare for their arrival?

    Sharing of information gathered during Cultural Orientation (CO)

    How is information transferred for specific needs (medical or other)? 

    There is no system established to share information on specific needs.

    Pre-departure

    Cultural Orientation: CO programmes are not always organised.  Where they are arranged, programmes are delivered by GII staff and a contracted NGO partner and funded under the ERF.  Programmes include practical information about life in Romania, Romanian traditions and values, social services offered to refugees and departure procedures from the country of asylum, and incorporate discussions on expectations of refugees’ efforts to integrate after their arrival into Romania.  In 2013, CO will be carried out during the selection mission by a mixed team consisting of one representative from GII or the Integration Department and one NGO representative, with the support of IOM.

    Medical Exam: Romanian selection mission doctor      

    Travel arrangements: International Red Cross for arrivals prior to 2013; responsible organisation to be determined for arrivals in 2013 and beyond (based on an open tender and grant agreement).

    Integration in Practice

    Reception

    During the 2010 resettlement operation, refugees were initially accommodated in a reception centre in Galati, Romania, operated by GII and a civil society partner. For the 2013 arrivals, the government decided that - wherever possible - each group of 20 resettled refugees would go directly to the municipalities.  Delays caused by the in-country refugee status determination process sometimes meant this was not possible.  In these cases, a maximum period of 3 weeks was set for resettled refugees to remain in the reception centres.

    Placement policies

    In 2013, the Romanian government has stated that it will try to accommodate refugees directly into private housing. The first group of 20 resettled refugees will be placed in Bucharest, while the remaining 20 in Timisoara.  There is no financial support from the central government for cities receiving resettled refugees. However, the central government funds programmes implemented by local NGOs based in Bucharest and Timisoara.

    Integration services & support

    Length: 1 year

    GII coordinates the integration programme in cooperation with NGOs, and integration measures for resettled refugees are mainstreamed into provision for all refugees. For resettled refugees, the integration programme begins in a reception centre and consists of a language course, cultural orientation, social counselling and two months of financial assistance.  

    Outside of the reception centre, refugees can access free language courses (four hours per week for twelve months) provided by school inspectorates using a special curriculum. Refugees also receive 39 hours of cultural orientation courses offering information on Romanian geography, history, the constitution, culture and values. In order to facilitate school registration of refugee children at the level corresponding to their knowledge, school inspectorates offer a free Romanian language course.

    Housing for resettled refugees is free during the first 12 months, and financed through the ERF. Resettled refugees are assisted by JRS Romania to identify accommodation based on their needs and requirements. Refugees receive a financial assistance of EUR 124 (540 lei) per month and per person for 9 months.

    For future groups of resettled refugees, as a response to the challenges encountered by the first group of refugees resettled to Romania (see 'Strengths and Challenges', below), JRS Romania will provide social assistance and counselling to support access to health and education, provide additional language courses, and provide material support and subsidies for food and clothes. JRS Romania will also organise social, recreational and cultural activities.

    Beneficiaries of international protection in Romania are legally entitled to work, and to access unemployment benefits and employment support under the same conditions as Romanian citizens.  An ERF-funded project implemented by JRS Romania provides refugees with vocational training, assistance in looking for jobs and in preparing for interviews.

    Use of the european refugee fund (erf)

    Persons resettled using 2012 ERF funding
    No resettlement arrivals in 2013.
    Pledges made to resettle under ERF specific categories for 2013

    Persons resettled from a country or region designated for the implementation of a Regional Protection Programme

    X Women and children at risk

    Unaccompanied minors

    Survivors of torture and violence

    Persons with serious medical needs that can only be addressed through resettlement

    Persons in need of emergency resettlement or urgent resettlement for legal or physical protection needs

    Pledges made to resettle under ERF resettlement common EU priorities for 2013

    Congolese refugees in the Great Lakes Region

    X Refugees from Iraq in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan

    Afghan refugees in Turkey, Pakistan, Iran

    Somali refugees in Ethiopia

    Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand

    Eritrean refugees in Eastern Sudan

     

    evaluations

    The Institute of Social Security (ISS), in the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, carried out an overall evaluation of the reception and integration of asylum seekers and resettled refugees in 2012.  To date, the results of this study have not been made public.

    strengths and challenges

    To date, Romania has only received resettled refugees on one occasion in 2010, when a group of 38 Burmese refugees of Kachin origin arrived to Romania from Malaysia. Upon arrival, they were accommodated at the Galati reception centre and registered within the governmental integration program. Additional support was provided to them through ERF and UNHCR programmes by four national NGOs including social counselling, supplementary Romanian language classes, CO sessions, IT training and employment support.

    The refugees resettled in 2010 encountered many challenges on their arrival, partially due to inadequate preparations before arrival. Interpreters were not provided on arrival, and refugees were therefore not able to ask questions or understand what was happening, and several refugees had specific health conditions and needs that they were not able to explain adequately. Many refugees felt hat financial assistance and in-kind donations received from the Romanian government were not sufficient to sustain a decent living, and several requested resettlement to another country.

    Most of the group subsequently left Romania and some sought asylum elsewhere in Europe, mostly in Nordic countries.  Most were subsequently returned to Romania.  Currently, six refugees are still enrolled in the Romanian integration programme for refugees.

    new developments

    After a problematic resettlement experience in 2010, Romania did not resettle in 2011 and 2012.  In 2013, however, a new group of Iraqi refugees are planned to arrive from Turkey. The Romanian government envisages different measures to facilitate the integration process of this group, focusing on increased language learning possibilities (intensive language courses for the first six months) and becoming economically self-sufficient.  Possible measures that have been discussed for implementation include in paid or apprenticeship programmes available to refugees within 4 months after arrival (depending on language proficiency).

    Additional activities for the 2013 programme are awareness-raising activities aimed at local authorities from the areas where refugees will be accommodated, and outreach to existing Iraqi communities and to employers’ associations

    resources and news

    Resources

    UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, Romania Country Chapter, June 2011 revision [Read more]

    Latest news

    • In anticipation of the arrival of 40 resettled Iraqi refugees to Romania in 2014, a delegation from the Asylum and Integration Directorate (AID) within the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII) undertook a selection mission to Ankara, Turkey in January 2014. Read more here.