Moldova is a country of migrants. According to official government estimates, about 340,000 Moldovans are living and working abroad, although the actual figure differs according to different sources and likely tops one million. Migrants are also a major source of income for the national economy, with remittances from those abroad estimated at $1.8 million per year. Managing Moldova's migrants, many of whom are abroad illegally, is a major challenge for IOM and 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.
IOM has implemented since January 2007 the project “Beyond Poverty Alleviation: Developing a Legal, Regulatory and Institutional Framework for Leveraging Migrant Remittances for Entrepreneurial Growth in Moldova”, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Trade of the Republic of Moldova and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The project is funded by the European Commission and co-funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The project has contributed to improving the normative and regulatory framework for the implementation of policies aiming to maximize economic gains from migrant remittances for development of small and medium business (SME) and economic growth, in accordance with national strategies. The specific objective of the project is to help the Moldovan Government develop a sound legal, regulatory and institutional framework, which will enhance the impact of remittances on economic development by facilitating increased investment of migrant resources in SMEs, in the Republic of Moldova.
The project deploys a holistic approach with integrated and interrelated programme components including: the development of a national remittances programme, strengthening institutional, infrastructural and human resource capacity of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, improving data on remittances, developing a better information system for the migrants, facilitating linkages between remittances and financial services, and finally, building bridges with the Moldovan Diaspora.
IOM has contributed to the development of the proposal of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (MFAEI) for negotiating, development and conclusion of the EU-Moldova Mobility Partnership (MP) Agreement. After the signing in June 2008 of the EU-Moldova Joint Declaration on MP, IOM is holding permanent talks with the relevant EU and Moldovan Government structures on possible IOM contribution to the success of this initiative. The Mobility Partnership has the purpose of facilitating legal migration including circular and temporary migration, in particular for development purposes. The concept of “mobility” is increasingly becoming a key element for the development of new EU migration management strategies. IOM Moldova supports implementation of the Mobility Partnership inter alia through facilitating the development of policies and programs in Moldova aimed at (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.
EC and 16 member States have concluded the Mobility Partnership with Moldova in June 2008.
Improved ability of the Moldovan government to implement the overall strategy to utilize remittances for economic growth: Expert commissioned by IOM has finalized a study contributing to the development of a National Remittances Programme for the Republic of Moldova.
Strengthened institutional, human and infrastructural resource capacities of the Ministry of Economy and Trade to implement policy related to SME development: Trainings have been provided to improve the analytic and technical abilities of key personnel of the MoET and OSME which are instrumental to effective implementation of national priorities in the field SMEs and of migration and development. Infrastructure and Technological Support has been provided to 35 economic units of the rayon councils. The IOM comissioned expert provided advice to officials of the Government of Moldova on policies, standards and practices on SMEs support and development in the context of establishing of the OSME. IOM has also contributed to enhancing the technical capacity of the OSME.
Improved reliability of migration and remittance data and the capacity of the government to collect, share and apply such data: The Migration and Remittances Survey 2008 has been carried out in July-September 2008, building on the 2005 and 2006 surveys, providing to the Government a comprehensive, clear, and objective analysis of migration and remittances and its effect on poverty in Moldova, prerequisite for development of efficient policies in this area.
Improved financial literacy among migrant workers: A financial literacy pilot has been implemented together with several banks aiming to enhance the financial issues knowledge and management skills of remittance recipients.
Improved performance and innovative nature of traditional and non-traditional financial institutions offering services linked to remittances, by providing recommendations for development of innovative financial products to link with remittances.
Awareness raised among of Moldovan migrants and migrant households on investments opportunities in RM: A financial literacy information campaign is being currently organized aiming to provide remittance senders and recipients with clear information about financial remittance services, as well as to influence their beliefs and knowledge about socio-economic reintegration opportunities in the home country and about the efficient usage of remittances, including investment in small businesses.