SEJOURNER ET TRAVAILLER EN ROUMANIE : NOUVEAUTES LEGISLATIVES Romanian legislation governing residence and work of foreign citizens in Romania has been amended by Law no. 247/2018, by the introduction of new categories of foreign citizens who can perform activities in Romania. This law also brings important changes to the remuneration of foreign citizens in Romania

The new legal provisions have become effective on 10 November 2018 and transpose into Romanian law EU Directive 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing, which must be implemented by Romania by 2018.

It should be noted that these new legal provisions concern citizens of countries outside the European Union, the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Swiss Confederation.

Citizens of the EU, the EEA and the Swiss Confederation can carry out activities on Romanian territory, benefiting from the principle of free movement of workers; in their case, the employment conditions are considerably simplified.

MINIMUM WAGE

The law also makes changes in the minimum income of employed foreign citizens.

Thus, the reference salary changes from the gross average wage in the economy, in force until 10 November 2018, to the minimum gross wage guaranteed at national level, à savoir 1.900 lei.

The amendments also concern highly qualified workers. In this case, the minimum wage decreases from 4 average gross wages in the economy, as provided by the former law, to 2 gross average wages in the economy.

NEW CATEGORIES OF FOREIGN CITIZENS WHO CAN OBTAIN THE RIGHT TO WORK

Among the new categories of foreign citizens who can obtain the right to stay and work in Romania, under certain conditions, we mention:

a) The trainee - a foreign citizen who holds a higher education diploma or who is pursuing a course leading to a higher education diploma and who is admitted for a training program for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, practice and experience in a professional environment;

b) Au-pair - the foreign citizen employed temporarily by a host family to improve his/her knowledge and language skills in exchange for easy domestic work and child care. For this type of workers, the law provides certain conditions to be met in order to obtain an employment approval (among which: the worker must be aged between 18 and 30 and must have completed lower secondary education).

c) The researcher - a foreign citizen holding a PhD or a higher education degree, which enables him/her to access research or postdoctoral research programs and who is accepted by accredited higher education institutions, research institutes , a research and development unit or an approved research centre to carry out scientific research activities as part of a project.

OTHER CHANGES

The law stipulates notification obligations for host entities engaged in legal relations with foreign citizens. Thus, host entities must notify the territorial unit of the General Inspectorate for Immigration of the initiation or suspension of the legal relationship with the foreign citizen, within 30 days of the occurrence of the event.

The procedure for obtaining employment approvals for permanent workers is simplified. The procedure for obtaining the recognition of studies certificate from the Ministry of National Education is abolished.

As for short-stay invitation-based visas, the deadline for resolving the applications for the approval of invitations was reduced from 60 days to 45 days; however, in duly justified cases, when a more in-depth review of the application is needed, the deadline may be extended by 15 days.

The fees for issuing work approvals were halved. Thus, the employer/beneficiary of the service pays the equivalent in lei of 100 euros for the issuing of employment/posting approvals. For employment approvals for seasonal workers, the employer must pay the equivalent in lei of 25 euros.

The law also stipulates new offences: preventing the employees of the General Inspectorate for Immigration from performing an inspection at the employer’s headquarters or failure to submit the documents necessary for the inspection within the deadline set by the Inspectorate. These offences are sanctioned by fines up to 10,000 lei.

The most important and long-awaited change is the one regarding the minimum wage to be paid to employees from third countries: the basic minimum wage versus the basic average wage. The importance of this modification lies in the fact that it eliminates the previously unfair regime, which was more favourable to third-country nationals than to Romanian employees or EU nationals. This change should encourage the recruitment of third-country employees. This may prove beneficial to the Romanian economy, especially in the current context, where the offer is much lower than demand on the labour market.