Romanian Worker in France

As the number of interim roumanie in France has steadily risen over the past decade, so too has the appetite of many for a return home. But for those whose stay in France has been prolonged, the country remains an attractive destination thanks to its high wages, low unemployment and a booming economy.

The economic relationship between the two countries is based on high-value added industrial cooperation – Carrefour, Auchan and Leroy Merlin have major stores in Romania, while Airbus, Renault-Dacia, Michelin and Engie have production sites there. However, Romanians are also a significant presence in other areas of the economy, including banking (Rombank has a strong presence), retail and tourism.

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The main source of income for the majority of Romanians in France is remittances from family members back home, who often live in rural areas and are largely dependent on this long-distance form of solidarity. This remittance helps cover the cost of medical care for sick elderly relatives and covers some daily expenses.

Ionut, a 35-year-old construction worker from Bucharest, is hoping that the newly elected president, Francois Hollande, will be different from his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. He and his family are crossing their fingers that promises to relax French laws limiting the rights of Roma to work legally will bear fruit. But Ionut is not wildly optimistic: “Everywhere you go, when people hear the word Roma, they think thief or criminal.” Under ‘transitional arrangements’ from their EU accession in 2007, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria can only be hired for certain jobs on a restricted list, and employers must pay a 713-euro surcharge to take them on.

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