In 2022, ANOFM announced a labor force deficit of 17%. Among the main reasons were the lack of qualified and experienced personnel (mentioned by 71% of the economic agents that faced a lack of labor force), the low number of applicants (60%), and the impossibility of offering the necessary salary (16%). As a solution to this problem, the additional simplification of the conditions for the admission of foreign workers to the Republic of Moldova is increasingly being discussed, after several previous rounds of reducing restrictions, according to a study by Marina Soloviova from Expert-Grup.
Demographic trends in the Republic of Moldova show negative long-term prospects for the labor supply. The number of the working-age (20-64) population with usual residence has decreased on average by 2% annually in the last 5 years, and by 2030 it is forecast to decrease by around 8% compared to the situation at the beginning year 2022, or with 120 thousand people.
This will cause constraints both for employers and for the social insurance system: if at the beginning of 2022, the demographic pregnancy index was 63% (so for every 100 inhabitants of working age there were 63 children and the elderly), then to the year 2030 it will reach 70%, according to the forecast of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (medium scenario).
At the same time, we note that even in 2030, despite the decrease, the share of the population of working age in the total population with usual residence will exceed 50%, so the Republic of Moldova will still benefit from the demographic dividend (although the situation may vary in distribution by district).
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The Expert Group study says that immediate liberalization would generate a flow of immigrants from predominantly African and Muslim countries, against which there are strong prejudices in Moldova.
“To mitigate racist and xenophobic attitudes and to widen the Overtonian window of acceptable migration policies, educational measures to cultivate tolerance, policies to protect diversity, as well as the consistent application of the existing normative framework are needed. Although incitement to hatred or violence based on prejudice (based on race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, etc.) is formally prohibited by the legislation in force, it has long been viewed with indulgence, and ethnic and linguistic divisions have been cultivated and used for political purposes. Now intolerance has become an obstacle to development and must be recognized and treated as such”, says Marina Soloviova.
Currently, their status, including the right to work in the Republic of Moldova, is determined by the CSE provisions that refer to short periods of time (a few months). This creates planning difficulties for both refugees and employers and partly explains the failure to integrate Ukrainian refugees into the national labor market so far.
Their right to work, as well as access to education, social protection, and medical services, must be made permanent through changes to the general normative framework so that they are motivated to work and stay in Moldova after the end of the war.