Migrant Workers in Romania




scarce pool (2) big/bigger/biggest
own nonsense employee
ready foreign come back
lack shortage sell/sold/sold
crisis emigrate estimated
labor beyond attractive (2)
join obvious generation
coast process scratch (2)
wait agency immigration
fill grant (2) placement
gap explain residence
queue visa (2) pick up (2)
legal strategy overwhelm
expire citizen employer
nearby convince unemployment
salary colleague short-term
vast position headache
tempt train (2) appear (3)
chef prepare stroke of luck
luck abroad easy/easier/easiest
adapt vacancy start from scratch
permit share (3) springboard (2)
stay miss (2) sell/sold/sold
earn survive occasional
option schnitzel opportunity
offer delivery documented
beach staff (2) send/sent/sent
luxury high-rise off-camera
salary majority long-term
invest wing (2) medium-term






Nicolae Bucovala, Hotel Owner: “Do you have problems with a swimming pool?”

Time is scarce. Nikolai Bukovala owns several hotels. Everything must be ready before the summer guests arrive.

His biggest headache: lack of workers.

Nicolae Bucovala, Hotel Owner: “Nothing works without foreign workers. I myself don’t know how to convince a Romanian who works in France, for example, to come back.

Sometimes you would like to sell everything. I don’t know every morning I ask myself, ‘what’s next’”?

He’s in the middle of a crisis that began years ago; labor shortage. Since Romania joined the EU in 2007 many Romanians have emigrated to Western Europe.

They are needed here at the Black Sea Coast and Beyond. An estimated half a million Romanian jobs are unfilled. The reason is obvious.

Romanian Citizen: “The salaries that Romania offers are not attractive to this generation; and that’s why they go abroad.”

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These people are here to fill the gap workers from Asia: Nepal, India, Pakistan. Those waiting here in front of the Bucharest immigration office have paid up to 6,000 Euros to job placement agencies in their home country to legally immigrate to Romania.

They have visas, but there are problems with the residence permit, the TRC Card.

Migrant Female, One: “I’ve been queuing up here for two months, and never picked up my ID. What’s happening?”

Migrant Male: “My visa is only for three months. My visa has expired. I need a TRC Card.”

The immigration office is overwhelmed by the government’s new strategy: Romania wants to grant 100,000 work permits for non-EU citizens this year (2023). In 2017 Romania gave out a mere 5,500 permits.

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For Romanian employers like Nikolai the process is slow; his hotel kitchen is still understaffed.

Nicolae Bucovala, Hotel Owner: “Do you cook rice?”
Hotel Kitchen Employee: “No potato with meat.”

Udayanga Dissanayake and his colleague Samir are both from Sri Lanka. They have never worked as cooks before.

Nicolae Bucovala, Hotel Owner: “The vast majority have not worked in the industry; the agency tells us that they already have experience, but that’s nonsense — they haven’t worked anywhere. Or if they did, they haven’t worked in the position or we need them.”

The Romanian colleagues train everyone as quickly as possible.

Romanian Colleague: “Uday, are schnitzels ready? And the chicken wings?”
Uday, Sri Lankan Employee: “Yes.”

Today they are preparing cascaval honey-breaded cheese, a classic and easy Romanian dish.

Udayanga Dissanayake, Sri Lankan Employee: “Since we came here, we learned a lot about Romanian food.”

They have been working here already since last year. It’s unusual and a stroke of luck for the kitchen chef.

Claudia Georgiana Parasache, Chef: “I’m happy they both stayed in Romania, unlike others who just left. It makes things a bit easier for us; they have adapted and we do not have to start from scratch.”

Many try to move undocumented to Western Europe, using Romania as a springboard the staff explains.

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Urayanga wants to stay. He says he earns 500 euros a month. He shares this room in the hotel with his colleague. The 26 year old misses his family . . . but going back is not an option.

Udayanga Dissanayake, Migrant Worker: “I love Sri Lanka, but the thing is economy is not that good — it’s really hard to survive. Some days we have I prepared some food and sold it out to neighbors. We had somewhat that kind of life over there.”

He studied tourism he says but, only earned 50 euros a month with occasional jobs there. Romania appears to him as a country full of opportunities.

Udayanga Dissanayake, Migrant Worker: “They are offering so many jobs for Asians. I see so many people who are doing fast food deliveries, restaurants and people like us working in hotels, there are so many vacancies over here.”

He doesn’t see much of the beach: during the busy summer months he works seven days a week — and sends most of his money home to his parents.

One day he says he will have his own business, perhaps in the UK.

Nearby workers from India are building this high-rise with luxury apartments.

Off-camera we learned that here five people share a single room.

And not everyone building Romania’s future wants to stay for the long term. Higher salaries in western Europe for the same job are tempting

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Fast-Food Worker. The main problem for the hotel owner is lack of guests from rich countries. True or false?

Cook, Chef. According to the report, why are companies in Romania employing foreigner workers?

Dishwasher. Are most of the foreign, migrant workers from Mexico, El Salvador and Morocco?

Chambermaid. Is the paperwork and legalization process very easy, straightforward and streamlined?

Street Cleaner. As time goes on, will Romania need fewer, the same about or more workers? Are jobs very scarce?

Janitor, Custodian. Have the Sri Lankan kitchen staff had schooling and training in culinary arts (cooking) back in their home country?

Farm Worker, Harvester. All the foreign migrant workers settle in Romania. Is this right or wrong?
Care Provider. Describe the labor market in your town, city or nation. Is there a shortage of workers, jobs, both, neither or in between?

Construction Worker. Do many people from your country emigrate to other nations? If so, why? What are some popular destinations?

Maid, Domestic Worker. Some or many foreigners live, work or study in my town, city and country. Yes or no?

Landscape Gardener. What might happen in the future?

Factory Worker, Assembly Line Worker. What could or should people, businesses and governments do?

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