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Hiring foreign nationals in Romania – conditions applicable for 2020

What are the requirements for hiring foreign nationals in Romania, and how complicated are the procedures in this matter? What are the applicable conditions by Romanian law to obtain a work permit for a foreign citizen? Answers to these questions and many more have been prepared in the article below by our collaborators, experts in the field of immigration.

As a general rule, any foreigner having citizenship of a country from outside the European Union can work in Romania only if he strictly meets the conditions imposed by the Romanian immigration law. It is required for that person, together with the future employer, to go through certain procedural steps in order to obtain the necessary work permit and the right of legal residence in Romania.

We will further describe the applicable rules and the procedure for hiring foreign nationals in Romania, and what the immigration process involves exactly.

General criteria for hiring foreign nationals (from outside the European Union)

Any Romanian employer (be it legal person or individual) who plans to hire a foreign national from a country that is not part of the European Union is obliged to ensure that a series of conditions established by law are met. Here are most important of them:

  • The employer must prove there are vacancies within the company for which, from objective reasons, there are no available candidates from Romania or from any other EU country; their availability must appear recorded with the employment agencies of the Member States concerned;
  • The foreign national applying for the position successfully fits within the annual quota of work permits approved by the Romanian authorities;
  • The foreigner has and can prove both the professional training and experience for the respective position;
  • The individual can prove that he is clinically healthy to perform all tasks at work for the respective position;
  • The future employee has absolutely no criminal record (which must be proven by a criminal record certificate issued by relevant authorities);
  • The position for which the foreigner applies matches with the economic activity that the employing company carries out;
  • The employer has not been sanctioned by authorities for undeclared work or illegal employment during at least the last three years.

In specific situations, some of the conditions described above do not apply. Here are a few examples of such situations:

  • When the foreigner is a professional sportsman and presents documents attesting that he carried out the same activity in another country;
  • The foreign national holds a position of director in a company with foreign shareholders, and there is no other person hired on such position in that company;
  • The foreigner opts for employment as a seasonal or cross-border worker (please refer to details provided below on these two types of work permits).

What are the conditions the employer must meet for obtaining the work permit?

For hiring foreign nationals in Romania, employers are obliged to go through the procedure for obtaining a work permit for Romania. The work permit grants a foreign national the right to carry out employment activity on Romania’s territory. The permit can be applied for by any employer operating in Romania, and must be issued by the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration. The application for the work permit cannot be initiated solely by the foreign individual.

The application file must be submitted to the territorial office of the General Inspectorate for Immigration in the county (region) where the employer has its headquarters registered.

As part of this procedure, all employers are required to meet certain essential conditions for receiving the approval for hiring foreign nationals in Romania. Here are these conditions briefly described:

  • The employer is a company (or any other type of legal person) or an individual authorized to carry out economic activities according to the law; the employer carries out activities that match with the position for which the foreigner is employed;
  • It has no debt to the state budget for last quarter prior to the submission of the work permit application file; the no-debt proof must be made with a tax certificate obtained from the Romanian tax office (ANAF);
  • The employer has never been irrevocably convicted of any type of crime under the Romanian Labor Code; also, the employer must have never been irrevocably convicted of an intentional crime committed against another person;
  • The company (or the individual employer, as per the case) did not receive any sanction such as those provided in the Romanian immigration law – i.e., under art. 36 para. (1) of Ordinance no. 25/2014 regarding the employment and secondment of foreigners on the Romanian territory;
  • Also, the employer was not sanctioned according to art. 260 para. (1) let. e or e ’) of the Romanian Labor Code, or according to the provisions of art. 8 para. (1) of the Government Decision no. 905/2017 regarding the General Register for Employees (Revisal), for a period of at least 6 months prior to obtaining the work permit;
  • The annual quota regarding the types of newly admitted foreign workers on the Romanian labor market must not be exhausted;
  • The foreigner who wishes to be employed must strictly meet the conditions provided under art. 6 para. (1) let. a, e, g, h, art. 11, as well as under art. 27 para. (2) let. c of Ordinance 25/2014, and the provisions of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 194/2002.

Depending on the type of employment activity that the foreigner will carry out, as well as the contractual structure based on which he will carry out activity, the employer has at hand several categories of Romanian work permits, such as:

  • Permanent (regular) worker – the position of permanent worker in Romania means that the expat will have a job like any Romanian local employee. This means that the foreign national will implicitly have to sign an individual employment contract with the Romanian employer for a determined period or, as the case may be, for an undetermined period. The employment contract will be concluded on the basis of the permanent worker work permit;
  • Trainee – the employment of the foreign individual will be done on condition that he/she holds a higher education diploma or hold proof that he/she attends certain higher education courses in a third country, as well as that he/she is part of an internship program in a Romanian company for a determined period. The purpose of the internship must be for professional training or to obtain a certain job qualification;
  • Seasonal worker – is the foreigner who maintains his main residence in a third country, but has a job in Romania based on an employment contract concluded with a Romanian employer for a fixed period. The stay in Romania is temporary and the expat provides a certain type of activity whose development depends entirely on the succession of the seasons;
  • Cross-border worker – the foreign national of a country that has a common border with Romania, and lives at the border area of ​​that country. He is employed in a border area of ​​Romania with that country. The employment is based on an employment contract concluded for a determined period or for an indefinite period, obviously based on a work permit for a cross-border worker;
  • Highly skilled worker – The foreigner who holds a job with a Romanian employer for highly skilled workers. A highly skilled worker must have a higher education (university degree or at least post-secondary education) and must be employed on a contractual salary at least equal to 2 Romanian average gross salaries per economy. The employment is done on the basis of an individual employment contract concluded with the employer for an indefinite period or, as the case may be, for a determined period, but the validity of the contract must be of at least one year;
  • Seconded (assigned) worker – the foreigner who is assigned for a certain period of time (up to 12 months as per the law) from a foreign employer to a Romanian one. Under this type of contractual structure he is and remains employed by his home country employer from abroad;
  • ICT worker (ICT comes from Inter-Company Transfer – meaning the employee who is seconded within the same group of companies) – the foreign employee is domiciled in a third country and during his secondment he keeps his employment contract with the employer abroad. The main goal under this type of employment is the easier assignment of workforce within the same group of companies;
  • Au pair – the foreigner works for a family living in Romania, called the host family. The goal is for the foreigner to have the opportunity to improve both their knowledge and skills of the Romanian language, in exchange for performing light household activities.

Documents required to obtain the work permit for hiring foreign nationals

In order to hire a foreign citizen, a Romanian employer must submit a work permit application accompanied by a set of documents to the General Inspectorate for Immigration. Here are the documents required for most of the categories of work permits described above, and that must be included in the application file:

  • Standard application form;
  • Certificate of registration of the company, issued by the Trade Register – original and copy;
  • Certificate issued by the tax authorities (ANAF) stating that all tax obligations to the state have been fulfilled by the employer;
  • Certificate stating that the employing company is not on the verge of bankruptcy;
  • Job description for the vacancy, and proof that the job ad has been published in a newspaper (except for highly qualified or posted workers, for which this obligation does not apply);
  • Certificate issued by the Unemployment Agency (ANOFM) from the county where the employing company is located. The certificate must certify that no candidate matching the job requirements for that position has been found in the Unemployment Agency’s database;
  • The employment offer letter issued by the company;
  • Copy of the minutes drawn up after the selection of the candidates for the vacancies has been completed;
  • CV of the foreigner to be hired, and his written statement saying that he is medically fit for the position and that he has a minimum knowledge of the Romanian language;
  • Criminal record issued by the competent authorities in the foreigner’s country of origin or residence;
  • Criminal record of the employing company;
  • Copies of documents showing the experience or professional training of the foreigner, translated and legalized (if the case);
  • Copy of passport or travel document, as appropriate;
  • Two photos of the foreign citizen, type ¾.

Conditions for obtaining a temporary residence right (residence permit) for employment

A foreign national can obtain the right of temporary residence in Romania for work purposes only if he meets certain conditions expressly provided by law. This right of temporary residence is granted on the basis of a residence permit issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

The residency permit employment purposes can be obtained or extended only if the foreigner (still) meets the conditions for employment in Romania. Also, the individual employment contract (if applicable) must be valid and registered in the Electronic Register of Employees (Revisal). In addition, it must follow from this contract that the foreigner earns an income at least equal to the Romanian national minimum wage. For highly skilled workers, the contractual salary must be equal to at least two national average gross wages per economy.

For more details on the Romanian minimum and average gross wages, you can also check our article: Romanian residency permit for secondment expires soon? Check the extension solutions.

The residency permit for regular employment can be obtained only for a period equal to the validity period of the employment contract, but in no case for more than one year.

On the other hand, foreigners who are highly skilled workers can be granted a residency permit for a period equal to the period for which the employment contract is valid, plus 3 months, but in no case for more than 2 years.

Seasonal workers also have the possibility to extend their residency permit for work purposes. They can only do this for the same period as the validity of the employment contract, plus additional 5 days. It should be noted that a seasonal worker must not exceed the maximum length of stay of 180 days in Romania, during any period of 365 days.

What are the main wins for a Romanian employer hiring foreign nationals?

Due to the fact that in recent years many Romanians have emigrated to other countries in the European Union, employers in Romania are increasingly facing a major problem in terms of labor availability in Romania. In addition, the deficit of the local labor force is determined not only by the migration of a large number of Romanians, but also by the phenomenon of gradual aging of the population.

Thus, finding well-qualified Romanians in certain fields gets increasingly difficult, this being in fact the main reason why employers frequently decide on hiring foreign citizens.

Therefore, employers in the Romanian economy are turning to foreign labor, especially from Asian countries. The decision is certainly a very good one for the development of the local economy. Thus, on foreign markets employers can find the qualified staff they need, and moreover, they can sometimes do so at lower wage costs. The advantages are certainly in the interest of employers, who can build much more productive teams to help them in the successful development of the business.

Why is Romania attractive for non-EU citizens?

Our country is becoming more and more attractive for workers from outside the European Union, and this is because there are better paid jobs here than in the countries where they come from. So, since there is a need to fill vacancies in several sectors of the economy, it is understandable that the labor market in our country has also become attractive to many foreign workers looking for a better paid job than in their country.

Moreover, living conditions are also better than in most Asian countries, which pushes Romania on the list of favorite countries in Europe for emigrants.

In addition, being a member state of the European Union, Romania can also be a good gateway for emigration to Western European countries, where many foreign emigrants actually want to get.


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