A BRIEF OVERVIEW
Nowadays Moldova experiences a mass migration phenomenon based on its weak economy. According to various estimates, more than 600,000 Moldovans are living and working abroad, although according to different sources the figure allegedly tops one million. Migrants are also a major source of income for the national economy, with remittances from those abroad estimated at over $1 billion per year. Managing Moldova's migrants, many of whom are abroad illegally, is a major challenge for IOM, its partners in the international community and Moldovan government. IOM supports policies that promote orderly and safe migration, respecting human rights while creating sustainable domestic and social polices that promote economic alternatives to seeking work abroad.
The IOM Mission to Moldova is active in the areas of labor migration, promoting safe migration, counter-trafficking, migration health, technical cooperation on migration, and resettlement of refugees. The Migration Management Unit (MMU) of IOM Chisinau provides assistance to the Government of Moldova and their partners in developing and implementing comprehensive migration and border programmes and policy initiatives. The MMU also serves as a research and information resource on migration issues for Moldova.
THE NEED FOR CAPACITY BUILDING IN MIGRATION MANAGEMENT
In the context of increased migration flows from and to Moldova, building and supporting the capacity of the institutional system to manage migration has been identified as a priority by the international community at large, given its uncontested importance for the Moldovan economy and society. Examples of projects implemented have enabled the Bureau for Migration and Asylum and the Government of Moldova to deepen their knowledge of migration flows and migration realities and build the Government’s capacity to develop policies for efficient migration management, based on the improved data collection and analysis.
For instance, an electronic information system allowing for enhanced migration data storage, analysis, and exchange, now serves the information needs of all relevant migration agencies, allowing them to ensure efficiency of inter-agency cooperation and information exchange between them. Trainings, study tours and research are efficient tools to ensure that the targeted officials are professional, cooperative and ultimately self-reliant in migration management, thus being able to develop sound migration policies, especially vis-à-vis labour migration.
RESPECTING MIGRANTS HUMAN RIGHTS
The global increase in irregular migration, and in particular the movement toward the current EU borders, is having a pronounced impact on Moldova, and creating new management challenges on already strained systems. From 2007 Moldova and Romania share an EU border. Yet despite, which imposes sustainable efforts at managing the increasing flow of irregular migrants transiting Moldova.
IOM is supporting the Government of Moldova’s initiative in its efforts to follow European and international best practices and standards related to managing both regular and irregular migration, with a special focus on treatment of Irregular Migrants. Joint activities have addressed the issue of the treatment and protection of human rights of irregular migrants and supported Government's efforts to comply with and ensure international best practices and humanitarian standards set by the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment as well as harmonization with the EU acquis communautaire.
In this regard IOM supported the upgrading of the accommodation facility for irregular migrants and providing of guaranteed protection of the human rights of the apprehended irregular migrants in Moldova. The Centre offers temporary accommodation, free access to interpretation, legal and medical services; social and psychological assistance as well as assistance to return to the countries of origin through the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) program.
MIGRATION AND HEALTH
IOM’s concept of migration health addresses the physical, mental and social needs of migrants and the public health needs of host and home communities. With the increase in global mobility, people are travelling rapidly to more destinations, either in search of better opportunities or safety. Human mobility today affects not only migration and development policies, but also related policy domains, such as human security and public health. The re-emergence of tuberculosis (TB), the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, the various influenza pandemic and the high morbidity and mortality which is often associated with irregular and forced migration, are a few examples of the critical relation between population mobility and health.
IOM Moldova has considerable experience with medical screening and assessments of over nearly 3000 Moldovan nationals whose emigration, primarily to the US, is processed through IOM Chisinau. The standard medical exams include testing for STDs, Hepatitis B and C, as well as TB. At an early stage IOM Chisinau Counter-Trafficking Unit incorporated a medical and mental health component to its activities. This was done because returnees arriving at the IOM Chisinau rehabilitation centre had been exposed to serious health risks. Several hundreds of returnees have also received standard medical diagnosis. IOM Moldova has also been very active in the area of mass information and outreach. Several information campaigns raised migrants’ and potential migrants’ awareness on the epidemiological risks of mobility, with special attention to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or TB.
In the field of migration and human resources for health, IOM has gained significant expertise through researches, conferences and projects aiming at improving the human resources management of health workforce. IOM in partnership with the MoH developed a health workers database that enabled the relevant authorities to accumulate and analyze precise information and data on human resources, and to monitor the migration of health professionals. These efforts along with comprehensive researches on health issues related to migration enables further development and implementation of sound policies on public health and migration and supports improving of the healthcare services and management of the outflow of health workers.
VOTING FROM ABROAD
According to different estimations, the majority of Moldovans residing out of country are being mostly employed in Russia and the European Union member states. They represent 15-20% of registered voters, which is an important voice in democratic decisions within the country. During previous elections migrants had the possibility to express their vote only in Moldovan Embassies and Consulates. Long distance to polling stations an their limited capacity created many obstacles for Moldovan citizens to exercise the right to vote for the future of their country.
Within its efforts to encourage the democratic participation of Moldovans, IOM has been working on building the MFA’s capacity to manage the out of country voting and facilitating efficient operation of the polling stations both within an outside the Moldovan missions abroad, especially in the countries where Moldova doesn’t have diplomatic presence and ad-hoc deployment of staff is needed. In addition to this, IOM has been empowering Diaspora Associations and increasing their capacity in motivating the Moldovans abroad to participate in voting, thus raising democratic participation in recent elections.
All these efforts leaded to a significantly increased OCV turnout in the 28.11.2010 Parliamentary elections (64 201 persons) which represented more than 3.6 times increase comparing to 17 484 voters at the last 2009 parliamentary elections.
For more information regarding the IOM Migration Management Programme, please or contact Mr. Simion Terzioglo, Programme Coordinator, email:
, phone (+373) 23 29 40/41 or visit our website at www.iom.md.