Opinion article by Raluca Bontas, Partner, and Mihaela Vechiu, Manager, Global Employer Services, Deloitte Romania
The Romanian Government has approved a series of derogations from the immigration legislation, in order to allow Ukrainian citizens to work in Romania without the need to obtain a work permit and a long-stay visa. According to the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 20 (GEO 20), adopted on March 8, 2022, all Ukrainian citizens who will sign an individual employment contract with a Romanian company can extend their stay by obtaining a residence permit for work purposes, directly from Romania, without being necessary to leave the country.
Thus, with the adoption of the new regulation, Ukrainian citizens will have two additional options regarding a possible settlement in Romania: direct employment, without the need to obtain a visa and a work permit, and applying for temporary protection according to the European directive that automatically provides the right of residence and work. The Romanian authorities will publish in the coming days the application procedure for these regulations.
According to GEO 20, people who do not have documents proving their professional experience and necessary qualifications for a job or the lack of criminal record incompatible with the activity they are going to carry out may sign a self-statement, based on which they will benefit from the provisions of the new regulation. As far as these persons are concerned, their right to work is limited to a maximum of two years. The authorities will publish the employment procedure for this category the following days.
On the other hand, the exceptions introduced by GEO 20 are not applicable to regulated professions in Romania, according to the legislation in force (such as doctor, pharmacist, architect etc.), regardless of whether the activity is carried out as an employee or freelancer.
The support measures implemented by the government are welcome in the current context, in which there is a massive influx of people entering Romania, a large part of whom have the capacity to work. Thus, they will be able to support themselves financially, if they choose to stay in Romania, and there are already multiple initiatives helping in this regard, such as platforms aimed at quantifying the labour supply and demand.
The new measures from GEO 20 are not applicable to family members of Ukrainian citizens who will benefit from the mentioned exemptions for employment. For them, the previous conditions remain in force, namely the need to obtain family reunification approval, long-stay visa and residency permit for reuniting with their families, but also the possibility to apply for temporary protection once the procedure is published (probably in the coming days) by the Romanian authorities.
Facilitating free access to work and the possibility of regulating the right of residence in an easy and fast way, both for Ukrainian citizens and for their family members, would place Romania on the list of countries in the European Union which offer a favourable regime for medium and long-term settlement. This could increase Romania's attractiveness and retention for Ukrainian citizens, so that our country is no longer just a transit area to western countries.