Press Release —Local December 22, 2020

New data on the mobility-driven impact of COVID-19 in Moldova presented by IOM during the International Migrants' Day 2020


18.12.2020 / Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
During an online workshop organized on the 17-18 December 2020, new data on how COVID-19 has affected migration in Moldova were presented. During the event, issues related to the COVID-19 impact on mobility, labour migration, existing solutions to support reintegration of Moldovan migrants, and the diaspora engagement initiatives in local development were also discussed.
The 2-day event brought together Moldovan Government representatives, civil society exponents, think-tanks, academia, Moldovan diaspora and labour migrants, and was organized by International organisation for Migration (IOM) and The United Nations Development program (UNDP) country offices in Moldova, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection in Moldova, the Moldovan Diaspora Relations Bureau, and with financial support from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).
The event was opened by Mr. Lars Johan Lönnback, chief of Mission at IOM Moldova, also moderating the first Session of the day. In his opening remarks, Mr. Lönnback, mentioned that during the last year, from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, IOM Moldova together with other UN Agencies supported the Government of Moldova to address the impact of the pandemic, including through providing evidence-base for early-recovery response measures as well consistent support to national authorities to ensure infection control and prevention of COVID-19.
Ms. Nelea Rusu, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection welcomed the audience and mentioned that the Government of Moldova highly appreciates the support of the IOM, SDC, UNDP, World Bank and other partners for the support provided during the pandemic. As well, the State Secretary underlined that “In the context of COVID-19 pandemic the migrants became even more vulnerable than before, because they have to confront the loss of their jobs, lack of financial resources, loss of the dwelling, as well as mobility restrictions imposed by the majority of the host countries”.
Complementing the above statements, Ms. Dima Al-Khatib, Resident Representative at UNDP Moldova, stated: “Migration is an area that should be placed in the centre of attention. The event today and tomorrow really put the light on the complexity of migration and its effect on every single household in Moldova in one way or another”.
Mr. Tom Bundervoet, Senior Economist of World Bank Group, followed up on Al-Khatib and emphasized that: “Migrants tend to earn more and to learn new skills in the destination country and send back remittances. When talking about remittances, we are talking about enormous resources that are sent globally. When it is done safely, it is a great source for a country to develop. But money mainly earned abroad also has a side of loss of skills and, it is also important to create ways for the migrants to return and apply their new skills in their home country and finally stay.”
Complementing Mr. Bundervoet messages, Ms. Natalia Griu, State Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research mentioned that “Many of the citizens that have left abroad, they come back, with new skills. We want to send a message to our citizens that skills and lifelong learning matters, we want to take care of these new skills that the migrants bring to Moldova, we need them”.
During the event, IOM Moldova presented its latest data on the mobility-driven impact of COVID-19, numbers and profiles of the returning migrants as well as specific vulnerabilities of groups affected by the decrease of remittances. The results of the nationally representative study conducted in partnership with World Bank, which complements IOM Moldova previous study on the impact of COVID-19 on diaspora and labour migrants.
Some of the highlights from the latest released study:
• Most of the returnees during pandemic are circular, short-term migrants (85%) who worked abroad in construction (36%) and caregiving (27%).
• The revenues have reduced for 52% of the households during COVID-19
• While some households (26%) experienced decrease in remittances others (20%) reported an increase in money received from their relatives working abroad.
• The majority of returnees intend to leave Moldova in near future (61%), but at the same time 37% plan to either find a job or start some sort of business in Moldova
• Some of the returnees experienced discrimination and bad attitudes after their return (19%)
• The top 3 preconditions for the migrants to return permanently are: Economic growth and raising living standards (75%), opportunities for employment (63%) and reduced corruption (59%).
The event can be watched here: 1st Day & 2nd Day
When finalized, the report will be published on IOM Moldova website
For further information, please contact Vitalie Varzari, Senior Assistant of Migration and Development Programme, IOM Moldova,