Romania and New Rules for Immigration and Work Permits
Romania recently reformed its rules concerning the rights and procedures related to foreigners living and working in Romania. On 28 July 2011, Law 157/2011 amending legislation on the legal framework for foreigners in Romania was published in the official journal of Romania (Monitorul Oficial).1 The law entered into force on 1 August 2011 (three days after its publication in the Monitorul Oficial).
We highlight below the main changes introduced by Law 157/2011.
• Long Stay Visas and Residence Permits for Individuals on Assignment – A residence permit for assignment purposes and a long-stay visa for assignments (symbol D / DT) have been introduced.
Ø Fines for employing a foreigner without a work authorization have been increased;
Ø Fines have been introduced for employers who fail to keep copies of the documents which give foreign employees the right to work and live in Romania.
• Non-Monetary Penalties for Employers Hiring Foreigners without Work Authorization or Employing Those with Expired Work Authorization – Employers who hire a foreigner without a work authorization or continue to employ a foreigner after his or her work authorization has expired may lose (in whole or in part) the right to receive benefits, aid, or subsidies (including EU funds) for up to five years. They can also be denied the right to participate in tenders for public contracts for up to five years, and can be required to repay (in whole or in part) any benefits, aid, or subsidies (including EU funds). In addition, workplaces in which foreigners have been employed without a work authorization may be closed (temporarily or permanently) and the employer may have its license withdrawn (temporarily or permanently) in serious cases.
• Monetary Penalties for Employers Hiring Foreigners without Work Authorization or Employing Those with Expired Work Authorization – Employers who hire a foreigner without a work authorization or continue to employ a foreigner after his or her work authorization has expired, are liable to pay any outstanding remuneration due to the illegally employed foreigner and all taxes and contributions which would have been payable if the foreigner would have been legally employed. In addition, if the act is committed by a sub-contractor, the main contractor and / or the intermediate sub-contractor are jointly liable with the employer if they were aware of the situation.
Swiss Nationals No Longer “Foreigners” – Swiss nationals are now specifically excluded from the definition of “foreigners”.
• EU Blue Card – The term “EU Blue Card” has been introduced into Romanian legislation. (For related coverage, see Flash International Executive Alert 2011-083, 19 May 2011.) This is a residence permit for work purposes issued to foreigners employed in positions which require high qualifications. EU Blue Card holders may extend their right of residence in Romania for a period equal to the duration of the employment contract plus an additional three-month period, but not for longer than two years.
• Procedures for Other EU Member State-Issued Blue Card Holders – For holders of EU Blue Cards issued by another EU member state, applications for work authorizations for employment purposes must be settled within 15 days.
• Visa for Individuals Conducting Religious Activities – A long stay visa for religious activities (symbol D/AR) has been introduced.
• Abolition of Collective Visa – The “collective visa” has been abolished.
Law 157/2011 was adopted to create the legal framework for the application of European regulations on immigration. (For related coverage, see Flash International Executive Alert 2011-121, 22 July 2011.) Consequently, it amends the following pieces of legislation:
• Emergency Ordinance no. 194/2002 on the legal framework for foreigners in Romania,
• Ordinance no. 56/2007 on the employment of foreigners in Romania,
• Ordinance no. 55/2007 on the establishment of the Romanian Immigration Office, and
• Emergency Ordinance no. 105/2001 on Romania’s state border.
Amendments to Ordinance No. 194/2002 on the legal framework for foreigners in Romania are also expected once the provisions of the Schengen acquis are fully applicable.