Returning home: a little support for a safe reintegration

Employees of the Causeni Territorial Employment Agency consult retruned migrants looking for a job. Photo - Causeni Employment Agency

Valeriu Filimon from Coscalia, Causeni district, has spent a long period working abroad. Although married with two children, he used to return home only twice a year. Despite earning enough money to support his family, Valeriu felt that distance kept him away from his family.

“I have realized that if I am not coming back home, I will miss the most important moments in my children’s lives. I have understood that if I do not guide them at the right time, my children will make decisions that might affect their whole lives. Me and my wife are dreaming about our children going to university, finding a good job and being able to ensure their future here, at home.”

The Filimon family is not an isolated case at all. According to a NEXUS/IASCI 2014 survey, over the last 15 years about 44,000 Moldovans have returned from abroad, leaving behind, in some cases, a bitter experience of labour migration.

The first thought of those returned home is to find a job, to support themselves. However, in addition to their savings, they also return with various problems: reintegration of their children in school, health related and psychological issues. All this leads to a need for social reintegration services, which would facilitate their employment and would help them cope with other difficulties they face.

Thus, annually almost 3,000 returned migrants turn to local offices of the National Employment Agency (NEA) from across the country. Given the large number of beneficiaries, as well as the importance of finding a job in migrants’ reintegration process, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Moldova supported the NEA in its activity on reintegration of returning migrants. The support was provided under the “Migration and Local Development” project, implemented by UNDP Moldova and part of a multi-year intervention “Moldova – Making the Most of Migration” of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

With the support of MIDL project, the capacities of 10 pilot territorial agencies were strengthened to serve returned migrants from abroad more efficiently. Thus, the persons from these agencies in charge of reintegration of migrants were trained, supplied with office equipment and benefited from exchange of experience, etc.

A novelty, however, will be the establishment of an Inter-institutional Reference Mechanism (IRM), whereby the returned persons will be provided with easier and faster access to the services they need to solve many problems they face upon return.

“Thanks to UNDP trainings and mentoring, I have formulated a separate algorithm to discuss with returned migrants. It helps me better understand the wide range of needs they have and guide them in decision-making. This way I feel that I am more useful for migrants, and that Causeni employment services bring much better results. A piece of advice offered to a person at the right time can change his life, his family’s life, and the country’s life eventually”, notes Liuba Caldarova, staff of Causeni Employment Agency, who works with returned migrants.   

Appealing to Causeni Employment Agency, the Filimon family was helped to find the most appropriate solution for them. They were referred to the PARE 1+1 programme. Under the guidance of the Agency employees, they have completed training courses, applied to the programme and received funding to open their own business. Now they have started a fish farm in their native village. They share their responsibilities equally – the husband is dealing with the technical part and the wife is managing the finances of the farm. “We know we will not become rich. The most important is to have enough money for the family. We also would like to arrange here a beautiful recreational area for the villagers and not only – to begin to build around us that beautiful country we have seen abroad, but which we want to have here, at home,” Ludmila Filimon says enthusiastically.

Highlights:

  • In 2016 the national employment agency recorded 2,877 Moldovan citizens, including 590 women, returned from abroad, which is 10% more than in 2015.
  • The large majority of these people have returned from the Russian Federation (84%).
  • About 33% of returned migrants using the NEA services were employed in 2016.