The IOM Mission to Moldova’s Migration and Development Programme together with its partners strives to develop a better understanding of the links between migration and development. This is important in order to harness the development potential and maximize the positive impact of migration from Moldova. The linkage between migration and poverty reduction/economic development is characterized through three factors – recruitment, remittances and return. If properly managed, migration can contribute to the development of the country, as well as benefit migrants themselves.
Activities in this area include strengthening the capacity of the government and other stakeholders to effectively involve the Moldovan migrant populations in development processes in their country of origin. These activities aim at fostering economic and community development, in areas where there is a high level of emigration, enhancing the development impact of remittances and facilitating the return and reintegration of qualified nationals. IOM Mission to Moldova aims to assist returning migrants and their families, diaspora communities/associations, as well as children and elderly left behind due to migration. IOM also supports Moldovan migrants entrepreneurs who are attempting to start or improve their business in Moldova.
Below you will find a description of the current Moldovan policies and legislation related to Migration and Development. This is followed by a description of some of the major subthemes that IOM is involved in within the realm of Migration and Development.
- Policy and Legislation
National Development Strategy 2012–2020, 7 solutions for economic growth and poverty reduction
The strategy recognizes at the highest level the need for a coordinated and integrated approach to manage migration. Concerning migration it includes a particular focus on remittances and youth emigration. IOM supported the integration of migration-related considerations, as part of the wide consultations held by the Government during the development of the Strategy.
In February 2016, the Moldovan government approved the national strategy “Diaspora-2025” after a longer process of consulting the diaspora, civil society and academics, as well as international partners, including IOM, mission to Moldova. IOM provided its input on the possible activities to be included the Strategy, as well as is actively involved in supporting the Government with the implementation of the document.
It is estimated that about a third of the country’s population, including children resides temporarily or permanently abroad, many of whom left in search for better job opportunities. Consequently, Moldova has a numerous and diverse diaspora settled in over 30 countries around the world. The Moldovan diaspora has the potential to support local development initiatives through financial flows such as remittances, charitable donations and investment, as well as through knowledge and skill transfers.
IOM Mission to Moldova is working to enhance the capacity of the Moldovan migrant communities abroad to become active in support of local development in Moldova. Therefore, an important part of the Migration and Development department’s work supports the capacity of the Moldovan Government to leverage the development impact of diaspora resources, and work towards further inclusion of the Moldovan diaspora in the political process.
The Moldovan diaspora is a major source of income for the national economy. Remittances are sent also through both formal and informal channels, which are hard to estimate, typically through bus drivers or with fellow migrants on their way home. The majority of remittances flows are used to fund basic household consumption, consumer durables, purchase of housing and debt repayment.
In this context IOM Moldova’s activities aim at increasing efficiency of use of remittances in Moldova.
For instance, since 2010, IOM Moldova supports the PARE 1+1, a program on attracting remittances into the economy. This programme is currently implemented by the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) and being extended to the Transnistria Region of the Republic of Moldova. So far the programme has successfully benefitted over 780 companies by supporting and contributing to business investments. With support of the European Union, the state has matched every 1 Moldovan Leu invested by a Moldovan migrant (or his/her first grade relative) with another 1 Leu. The money has primarily been used for launching a new private enterprise, or developing an existing enterprise, particularly in rural areas.
In line with the PARE 1+1 programme IOM is working together with its partners to develop new and innovative ways of channeling remittances through official ways. Recently, crowdfunding is being promoted at national and local level through a number of projects.
IOM is supporting the development of cheaper and more transparent channels for transferring the remittances. One proposed and tested model employed the National Post Offices of Moldova and several countries of destination of Moldovan migrants. IOM is furthermore exploring how alternative technical solutions such as mobile phone applications can play a role.
- Labour Migration
The lack of economic opportunities is the primary reason for labour migration, in particular of youngsters and women. IOM supports policies that promote orderly and safe migration, while creating sustainable domestic and social policies that promote economic alternatives to seeking work abroad.
IOM has for instance contributed to the development of the proposal of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) for negotiating, developing and signing the EU-Moldova Mobility Partnership Agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to facilitate legal migration, including circular and temporary migration, in particular for development purposes, more precisely (i) return of skilled migrant workers from the EU to their home countries to foster development; and (ii) encouraging return of migrants and ensure circularity of migration to the EU.
IOM is advocating for and supportive of negotiation and conclusion of labour migration agreements with countries of destination of Moldovan labour migrants, which would enhance the protection of their rights and interests. Furthermore, the support offered for negotiation and conclusion of bilateral social protection agreements with countries of destination of Moldovan labour migrants is likely to foster their eventual return to homeland via the facilitated portability of their pensions and other social rights/entitlements.
The lack of economic opportunities is the primary reason for labour migration, in particular of youngsters and women. In line with this reasoning, IOM has for many years been supporting economic empowerment and entrepreneurial development initiatives, comprised of for instance trainings on business development, primarily in rural areas. Starting from 2014, trainings and workshops on self-starting entrepreneurship have been organised by IOM periodically for NGOs, business service providers and migrants from the left and right bank of the Nistru River. One longstanding partner in this realm is the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (OSME).