Employment Exception – Refugee/Subsidiary Protection Status in Romania

In the intricate web of immigration laws and regulations, Romania offers a unique exception that facilitates employment for those with refugee or subsidiary protection status. While the process of immigrating to Romania can be lengthy and bureaucratic, this exception provides a glimmer of hope and opportunity for certain individuals who have sought refuge within its borders.

Important terms

  1. Refugee

A refugee is someone who has been compelled to leave their home country due to legitimate concerns of being persecuted, encountering violence, facing conflicts, or experiencing other life-endangering situations. These individuals look for refuge and security in another nation, often unable or unwilling to return to their homeland due to the risks they would confront. Refugees generally receive protection, aid, and legal acknowledgement under international laws to safeguard their safety and welfare in their host country.

  1. Subsidiary Protection Status

Subsidiary protection is a type of safeguard offered to individuals who are not citizens and do not qualify as refugees. It is provided when there are strong reasons to believe that returning them to their country of origin, or former habitual residence for stateless persons, would subject them to a genuine risk of severe harm. This harm is defined in Article 15 of Directive 2011/95/EU, also known as the Recast Qualification Directive. In cases where the conditions specified in Article 17(1) and (2) of the same directive do not apply, and the person is unable or unwilling to seek protection in their home country due to these risks, subsidiary protection is granted.

The immigration process in Romania

The first step to immigrating to Romania usually involves obtaining a work permit from the Immigration Office. This permit is usually obtained by the employer for the foreign employee. Although this step can be time-consuming, there are cases where employers are exempted from this requirement. One exemption applies to individuals with refugee or subsidiary protection status. In such cases, these individuals do not need a work permit to work in Romania.

Refugee and subsidiary protection status

In Romania, individuals who have been granted this status have the option to obtain one of two residence cards. Refugees can apply for a residence card that is valid for three years, while those with subsidiary protection status are issued a two-year card, despite the fact that international protection is granted indefinitely. These residence cards, along with the decision from the Romanian Office for Refugees, serve as official documentation of these individuals.

Legal rights of beneficiaries

According to Law no. 122/2006, Article 20, Paragraph 1, Letter C, individuals with refugee or subsidiary protection status have the right to:

  • Be employed by natural persons or legal entities (companies).
  • Engage in unpaid activities.
  • Practice liberal professions.
  • Execute legal acts.
  • Conduct commercial activities, including independent economic activities, under the same conditions as Romanian citizens.

This legal provision in Romania allows beneficiaries of this status to work without a separate work permit. It applies to both expatriates and employers. This comprehensive provision emphasizes that individuals with refugee or subsidiary protection status can engage in employment activities fully and legally. It is important to note that this exception applies to beneficiaries of refugee or subsidiary protection status, allowing them to work in Romania without needing an additional work permit.

The legal basis for the work permit exception

For employers seeking to hire foreigners with this type of residence permit in Romania, the legal foundation for this work permit exception can be found in Government Ordinance no. 25/2014, Article 3, Paragraph 2, Letter J.

Employer obligations

While this exception eases the process for both expatriates and employers, it also imposes certain obligations on employers. Government Ordinance no. 25/2014, Article 34, stipulates that:

  • Employers who choose to employ foreigners under this exception are required to notify the General Inspectorate for Immigration in Romania within ten days of their activities commencing. The notification is expected to include important documents such as a copy of the individual’s employment contract, the posting document, and relevant documentation verifying the foreigner’s category under Art. 3, Paragraph 2, or Art. 25, depending on the circumstances. Compliance with these communication requirements is essential to ensure legal and proper handling of foreign employment in Romania.
  • Employers are required to inform the General Inspectorate for Immigration within a period of ten days regarding any changes made to or the termination of an individual employment contract with a foreign employee. Additionally, if the secondment of the employee has been terminated, this information must also be provided. It is the employer’s responsibility to notify the authorities in a timely manner, ensuring compliance with the specified regulations.

Employers who do not meet their legal obligations may face penalties in the form of fines ranging from 1500 RON to 3000 RON, which is approximately equivalent to 300 EUR to 600 EUR. It is important to comply with these obligations to avoid these financial consequences.

Foreigner Obligations

In addition to employers, foreign individuals are also required to fulfill certain obligations under this exception. As stated in Article 13 of GEO 194/2002, these individuals must inform the Immigration Office about any changes in their employment status within 30 days. This includes both starting and ending employment. Failure to comply with this requirement may lead to penalties, which typically range from 100 RON to 500 RON. It is important for foreign individuals to be aware of and adhere to these regulations to avoid any potential consequences.

Benefits of the Work Permit Exception for Refugees and Individuals with Subsidiary Protection in Romania

In embracing a more inclusive approach to immigration policy, Romania extends a work permit exception to refugees and individuals granted subsidiary protection status. This exception not only aligns with humanitarian values but also offers several significant advantages to both these individuals and the employers who recognize their potential.

Employment Opportunities: Refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection have the legal right to seek employment in Romania, facilitating their economic self-sufficiency.

Skill Diversity: Many of these individuals bring diverse skills and talents to the job market, enriching various industries and sectors.

Language Skills: Multilingual abilities among refugees can be valuable for businesses engaged in international trade or serving diverse customer bases.

Talent Retention: Employers can retain skilled and experienced employees, contributing to the growth of their workforce.

Entrepreneurship: Some individuals start their own businesses, stimulating entrepreneurship and creating job opportunities.

Positive Workplace Culture: Embracing diversity and providing employment opportunities for refugees can foster a more inclusive and positive workplace culture.

In conclusion, Romania’s employment exception for individuals with refugee or subsidiary protection status offers a ray of hope and opportunity within the complex world of immigration regulations. By understanding and adhering to the legal provisions governing this exception, both employers and beneficiaries can navigate the immigration process more smoothly and embrace the chance to build new lives and careers in Romania.

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