On 27 August, Moldova prepares to celebrate 25 years of Independence. A country with a rich history and culture that has to be be proud of these chapters. Once, one of the most prosperous states of the Soviet Union, now facing poverty, economic decline and emigration. It may be that the anniversary of 30 years or more sure at the 40- anniversary of Independence, there will no longer be anyone to celebrate the holiday. Fortunately the Government id dealing with the problem.

Emigration. The begining

It all began with the collapse of the USSR, when the country was faced with a serious economic decline. The state did not face the financial problems: a string of inconsistent reforms have led to a stagnation of economic activity. Consequently, led to the impoverishment of 70% of the population. In 2004, the economic situation has reached a shaky stability, and poverty has diminished to 40%. However, the number of jobs has not increased. In order to feed their families and to support their households at a decent level, people had to get used to the new living conditions. Therefore, the only right decision for more than a quarter of the population of the republic was to leave the country to work.

In 2004, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) conducted a population census. Then the country were numbered 3.383.332 people. After 10 years, according to a new census data, in Moldova lived 2.913.281 people. Of these, 58.4% live in rural areas. 1/5 of the population livesin Chisinau. The current population of the country is divided into 48.4% men and 51.6% women.

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The most active period of migration was in 1998, after which the migration intensity has not decreased. According to statistics, the number of migrants exceeds by 2 or 3 times the number those repatriated in the country. The biggest losses are considered women who go to live abroad forever and professionals with a high level of professionalism.

The most popular destinations for migrants are USA, Canada, Germany and Israel. And from the CIS - Russian Federation and Ukraine. Moral and psychological adaptation in these countries is contributed by Moldovan diasporas operating there. They create a social and cultural environment, helping migrants to adapt easily to the new conditions and integrate in the new country and reach the conditions to receive long-term residence documents.    

Intellectual migration

A special pain for the state is the intellectual migration. There hasn't yet been identified a political approach to the problem. Despite the fact that the number of migrants with higher and specialized education increases, the state found no criteria to account for these individuals. There are no known direct and indirect losses from investing in the health and education of these migrants, and in some cases, migrants' personal investments in education.

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Simplifying of border crossing regime and easy access to education from abroad increased the number of Moldovan scholars in foreign universities.   

The situation can be explained very simply: in 2010, the NBS conducted a research and found that in that year there were registered 970.000 people aged 15-29, meaning 27.2% of the population. The level of unemployment in this age group was 13.9%, which is twice as high as the nationwide unemployment - 7.4%. Only 22% of young people have found jobs immediately after finishing their studies. Of which a quarter have left their jobs because of low wages, and 17.7% went abroad to work. By this example, the migration situation among young people is quite clear.

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Among other things, the youth of the city finds a job easier than rural youth (75% compared with 54%).   

It is worth mentioning that the number of students is decreasing, this year about 33 thousand students will go to class, about two thousand children less compared to last year.


Men choose CIS and women choose European Union  

Moldova's uniqueness lies in the fact that it lies on the border of two geopolitical systems: the European Union and CIS. Both systems operate under conditions of active attraction of migrants from third world countries to meet the needs of the workforce, but also to increase the demographic potential. At the same time, the exit mechanisms, documentation, conditions of migrants arriving in the country, and more employment opportunities are very different in these two systems. Therefore, migration is distributed in two parts: 60% to CIS countries (usually Russia) and 40% are the EU (mainly Italy).

According to statistics, from the total number of migrants who arrived in the CIS, 2/3 are men. Most are coming from rural areas, with secondary and specialized education. Migration in the CIS has a seasonal character - up to 12 months with some breaks.

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In the EU, mostly women go there - 70% of the total number of migrants. Of the total number of migrants in the EU, 19% have higher education. Emigration for a brief period in EU usually takes 2 years for men and 2.3 years for women.

About money and kids

Concerns about the emigration problem is directly related to economic and financial developments, social and demographic development of the country. In a long-term perspective, migration of citizens for a job has a negative effect on all these spheres. On average, every 10 years, the country looses 150.000 people, or nearly 15% of the economically active population (of course, this is an average data representation).

In 2006 migration processes were halted a little due to widening of EU borders and imposing visa for a certain number of citizens, but also because of problems that occurred on the background of the global financial crisis in 2008. However, the situation has not changed radically, and by 2010 statistics showed that 311.000 migrants went to work.

According to statistics, most migrants are from rural areas - 67%. 66% of all migrants are men, and 34% are women.

Among those who went abroad are young people aged between 20 and 24 years. Since 2002, the in the statistics appeared a new category of age - 55-59 years. Usually, these are citizens who emigrated to reunite with families.

A great challenge for the state in this situation is the problem of children left home.   

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Of the total number of migrants, 61.3% are people who are officially married, unmarried number is 31%. 42% of migrants have children. Of these, 100.000 are not cared for by their parents. Absence of parents, especially the mother has a negative effect on the emotional, psychological and intellectual development of the child. As a result, the state was forced to take responsibility for children left without parental care. According to the current data, 7% of children of migrants are placed in social institutions.

Let us go back to the impact of migration on the economic processes in the country. Initially, migrant earnings sent home contributed to increased consumption in the country. But the possibilities of the state to respond to the request were limited, so some of the goods and services were imported. This thing was beneficial for the state budget, but for the trade balance, the trade deficit has emerged.


Typically, the volume of money transfers balanced at around 30% of GDP. Transfers went mainly for current consumption, investing in children's education and medical services.

In the long term perspective, the transfers had negative consequences, including: artificial support of the national currency, reduction of export and so on.

However, money transfers to Moldova will cease if all families will reunite outside the country    

Government strategy '2020'

With all this data at hand, the Moldovan government created in 2011 a strategy to reduce migration and to improve the situation for immigrants and the repatriated. The report was divided into several sections: situation analysis, formulation of goals and ways to solve the problem. The realization of this plan was scheduled for nine years. How successful was this plan we will be able to find out in 2020. One of the main principles of the strategy is the fight against illegal migrants, admission of migrants in the country that bring economic benefits, the principle of cooperation with the EU for liberalization of visas, etc.


Transparency in the implementation of the strategy and ensurance of a dialogue between the government and stakeholders in this regard is provided by citizens - volunteers of the Commission of Report.

It is worth to note that the document on the national strategy of development of the state " 7 solutions for Moldova", a great deal of the study is given to the problem of education. One reason in the issue of migration among young people is the poor level of education that brings employers to disappointment with the level of preparedness of students. And those, once they leave to raise their skill level abroad remain there. According to the national strategy, changing the structure and quality of education (eradicate corruption, ¾ teachers need to have scientific degrees, more serious funding and ensuring financial autonomy of Universities) should improve the employment relationship between the employer and employee. According to forecasts, this would reduce migration by 50%.

Expert opinions: 

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Olga Gagauz, head of the Center for Demographic Research, believes that Moldova lost young and working-age population, well prepared, who may raise the economy but who currently contribute to the progress of other countries in Europe.

"Over 600 thousand citizens have settled permanently abroad. Labor migration was transformed into permanent migration. Perhaps these people will not return to the country, many families have already reintegrated, children were integrated in educational institutions there. It is a huge population loss, which will contribute to a greater demographic decline, a decline and aging population".

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Economic expert of the independent Analytical Center "IDOS Viitorul" Tatiana Lariuşina, is convinced that the working population is looking for more convenient and perspective places to work. Lariuşina believes that to change these trends, it takes a smart policy and honest diagnosis of what made it possible for this situation to happen. "Labour force migration that has been in place for many years in combination with a precarious demographic situation brought to the fact that Moldova has become one of the countries exporting human resources. But the work for Moldova, is the main factor of production. Skilled and cheap labor force is seen as the main factor of competition that could bring investment into the country. One of universal solutions and recommendations of the IMF in this situation is to increase the retirement age and involvement of not working women in the economy " said the expert.

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Alexander Kalinin, President of the Congress of the Moldovan Diaspora, says that Moldova is not yet ready to receive those around 1 million citizens living abroad, the state can not provide a decent standard of living to those who remained in the country, nor to migrants.

"How many of our citizens illegally living and working away from home, feel the so-called" beauty "of foreign countries, often working in the worst paid and unpopular professions. Return of migrants to their motherland is a threat to Moldova with disastrous consequences for the economy, which is already barely holding. If we imagine that all 700-900 thousand citizens will return to their motherland in a year, then where will they work? Our labor market is very small and there are 6 people on a vacancy. According to a research where once a year the country will return 50-80 thousands of migrant workers , then unemployment will rise to 10%, transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of Moldovans in a fight for "a piece of bread."


The issue of migration for Moldova is heavy and ambiguous. On the one hand, the country needs to retrieve its citizens and provide them with decent living conditions and on the other hand, poverty of the population back home is still not resolved. If we rely on expert opinion, the country is not ready for repatriation of migrant citizens.

Bright side is that the Moldovans that would return home, can participate in "growth" and development of the country, they could use the experience gained in developed countries, their Western vision would be of great use to those left. In recent years there is a tend to invest money accumulated abroad at home. In this way those who return can base their own businesses, providing jobs and participating in this way in improving the economic situation.

The state should not only see in migrants only money transfers and those left, only packages for holidays.

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