Razvan Stan



Narrative Activity Report 2005-2006


During the fellowship I collected relevant data from different sources at both central and local level, I did relevant document and legislative analysis, I critical discussed the findings in several conferences and specialized workshops, I wrote and disseminate the policy paper to the concerned stakeholders and decision makers, I drafted the final research report, and one more specialized research paper. In the following lines these activities are described according to their type.

 Activities held in 2005-2006 in the framework of the IPF project


  1. Document analysis

I have reviewed the following documents:

* Romanian legislation and Governmental strategies in the field of migration management and illegal migration prevention issued in the context of the process of European Union integration;

* Country Reports on Romania’s Progress towards Accession with a special focus on ‘Free Movement of Persons’ and ‘Justice and Home Affairs’ negotiation chapters;

* Relevant Position Papers;

* The legislation for the functioning of Romanian Border Police;

* Normative documents relevant for the functioning of the institutions in charge for creating legal labour migration channels, namely ‘the Office for Labour Migration’ and ‘the Department for Labour Abroad’;

* Reports of Romanian European Institute on Romanian migration during the last years;

* Reports of International Organization for Migration – Mission in Romania, on irregular migration and its associated risks;

* Immigration legislation from the main destination countries;

* Theoretical works on irregular migration and smuggling.

  1. Establishing contacts and leading interviews with representatives of relevant governmental institutions and intergovernmental organizations

This policy research stage helped to asses the successes and failures of central initiatives to control illegal migration and provided insights on the challenges faced by concerned institutions. I have contacted and interviewed representatives and decision-makers from the following institutions:

* General Inspectorate of Romanian Border Police

Contacts were established with the chief of Romanian Border Police, General Inspector Nelu Pop. The following data were requested from this institution: a. the evolution of the number of Romanian citizens who were not allowed to cross the national boundaries, b. the evolution of the number of Romanian citizens who were returned from the transit or destination countries, c. the evolution of the number of human smuggling and trafficking networks discovered, d. the evolution of the number of corruption deeds identified at the level of Border Police officers. One interview was held with a high commissioner from Border Police and a second one with an expert from the legislative department of the Ministry of Interior.

* Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Family – Department for Labour Abroad, Office for the Labour Migration

The Chief Secretary Daniela Nicoleta Andreescu who is currently leading the Department for Labour Abroad and the Office for the Labour Migration was contacted and interviewed in the framework of this project. During the interview both the difficulties and strategies encountered by these institutional structures were discussed. The representatives of the Office for the Labour Migration (OLM) provided useful data regarding the yearly evolution of the number of Romanian citizens who were supported by OLM to get labour contracts abroad.

* Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Embassy of Romania in Dublin

The ambassador of Romania in Dublin, Ms. Silvia Stancu-Davidoiu, was also interviewed with regard to the profile and situation of Romanian citizens who are coming and residing in Ireland, including the irregular ones. Causes of irregular immigration as well as strategies to diminish the phenomenon were critically approached and discussed in the perspective of forthcoming accession of Romania to European Union which will bring new regulations and conditions of access and work in both Schengen and non-Schengen European spaces.

* International Organization for Migration (IOM) – Mission in Romania and Mission in Dublin

The chief of IOM Mission in Romania, Ms. Cristina Gheorghe Tranca, offered to support the project. IOM representatives helped in documenting this project and offered for consultation their reports on irregular migration, human trafficking and migration management. They also provided useful contacts and ideas for developing this project. An interview held with the OIM representatives in Romania provided relevant data on the perceived factors and risks of illegal migration and on the planned strategies for the prevention of this phenomenon. Complementarily, one representative of OIM mission in Dublin was also interviewed. This interview focussed on the perception of irregular immigration to Ireland in case or Romanian migrants, on the evaluation of the phenomenon in the larger international context, as well as on concrete practices of assistance and voluntary repatriation organized by IOM for Romanian irregular migrants and their families.


  1. Field Research

The 1st stage of the field research was carried in high-rate rural sending region from Eastern Romania. This region was selected starting from the data-base resulted after the last national surveys which had migration as one of their themes (Public Opinion Barometer). Practices of irregular migration were identified either in present or in different stages of the migration process. The in-depth interview centred on migration history and experience was the main research method.

Interviews with local and county authorities were also held and focussed on the social and economic costs of irregular migration at individual, household/family and regional levels. Interviews with representatives of private labour mediating agents were also led at county level.

In order to investigate illegal or irregular migration factors, means and effects, an operational definition was used. Irregularity was explored in the practices of border crossing and associated corruption, in the cases of overstaying visas, in situations of working without legal permit and, generally speaking, in the situation of being without documents. Special attention was given to the structure, dynamics, rules and mechanisms of smuggling networks.

The micro-level anthropological approach proved to be very useful in exploring irregular migration practices and networks. Besides, this kind of research offered an interesting and revealing perspective ‘from below’ on the functioning of the institutions which should regulate and stimulate legal migration. Among other aspects, the interviews explored the attitudes of Romanian migrant-workers toward the increasing border-crossing restrictions as well as the perception, attitudes and expectations toward the central institutions which are in charge to facilitate and regulate migration.

For a better understanding of irregular migration and of the functioning of trans-national smuggling networks a short pilot field research was accomplished in Ireland – Dublin, one of the main destination of the Romanian migrants I focussed on. This destination region was selected for several reasons. First, unlike the case of the Schengen countries where the Romanian citizens got the right to enter without visa, for a 3-month period, in Ireland – a richer EU but non-Schengen country – the access is much more difficult, practices of illegal border crossing by using forged documents and the services of organized facilitators being more frequent. Second, in contrast with the findings from the sending region which privileged a focus on the root causes of irregular migration and on its effects at family and local community levels, the pilot research in the destination region highlighted the push factors, the nature of irregular migration practices and the risk and costs faced by the migrants who were not yet able to regularize their legal status. Several interviews were held in Dublin with relevant authorities as the Romanian ambassador and the representative of International Organization for Migration, and data on Romanians’ employment status were gathered as well. 

According to the research findings, migrants usually enter an irregular status especially in the first stage of the migration process. Besides it can be assumed from the research findings that the illegal migration networks and practices are more extended and active if the migration restrictions are increasing. This brought attention on the unintended effects of the un-sustained restrictive migration policies. The building of more reliable legal migration opportunities should necessary balance this approach.  

<>     4. Dissemination of project results

A. Participation to conferences and seminars

* I participated at the conference ‘Irregular Migration: Research, Policy and Practice’, organized in Oxford, between 7-8 July 2005 by Centre on Migration Policy and Society (COMPAS). During the seminars held at Oxford I had the opportunity to discuss my initial research findings and to better orient my policy research.

* I also participated at the Workshop on Developments and Patterns of Migration Processes in Central and Eastern Europe held on 25-27 August 2005 in Prague. This event was organized by Multicultural Centre Prague. The regional focus proved to be a good complement to the conference held in Oxford. Issues directly relevant for my IPF project were debated in the seminars on ‘Migration Policies and Migrants’ practices’ and on ‘Migration Management’. A paper on the impact on migration on sending contexts was presented with this occasion. 

* On 7th of October, 2005 I was invited at Centre on Migration, Policy and Society – University of Oxford to participate in a consultancy workshop held with World Bank representatives and migration experts. The aim was to help World Bank to design a regional strategy for the management of migration from CEE. The data gathered with the support of International Policy Program proved to be revealing for introducing the Romanian context. Several feed-backs were also provided after the meeting on the draft report of the World Bank representatives.

* On 19th and 20th of December, 2005 I actively participated in the workshop held in Berlin with my IPF group colleagues and advisors. This work meeting proved to be particularly useful to present my research findings, to discuss their relevancy and to better focus the draft policy paper.

* Between 7-8 April, 2006 I participated with a research paper at the ‘Labour’ panel of the international conference ‘Bridging Disciplines, Spanning the World: Approaches to Development, Diversity and Democracy’ held at Princeton University - US. The research findings based the second stage of the IPF fieldwork, including data on irregular labour migration practices were presented and discussed in a comparative and interdisciplinary context. 

* On 22nd June, 2006 I presented the draft research paper “‘Flexible’ Illegality. Immigration and Adaptation Practices in Case of Romanian Workers from Ireland” at a work in progress seminar organized at Centre on Migration, Policy and Society – University of Oxford. Based on the pilot research accomplished in IrelandDublin, I focussed on the routes and main practices of irregular migration to Ireland. The seminar presentation was of great help to get specialized and comparative feedback and to better structure the research paper which will be published soon.


B. Writing, publishing and disseminating the policy paper and research report

Both the statistical and interview data gathered at local and central level were analysed, processed (transcription, statistical analysis) and integrated in the draft research report. The draft also contains a chapter on legislative analysis and references to other relevant reports and documentation. The last chapter includes a set of policy recommendations informed by the research undertaken.  A final version is ongoing in order to integrate the last field research findings.

The paper ‘Migration and Development. A Challenge for Romania in the European Union Integration Process’ based on several of the preliminary findings was already published in Policy Warning Report, one of the main publications on Romanian Academic Society.

The final version of the policy paper integrates the feedback provided by mentors and IPF team during the workshop held at Berlin. In order to better inform the decision making process in the field of irregular migration management, the policy paper focuses on the current extent and consequences of irregular migration, provides options to improve the current management policy, and highlights the benefits of the proposed changes.  For a quick and persuasive access to information, the policy paper was translated in the local language –Romanian – and contains an executive summary.  This paper has been distributed, in the form of a 22 A4 page brochure, to several authorities, stakeholders and institutions including:

* Ms. Daniela Nicoleta Andreescu, Chief State Secretary – Department for Labour Abroad   (Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Family)

* Mr. Nelu Pop, General Inspector - General Inspectorate of Romanian Border Police

* Ms. Cristina Gheorghe Tranca – Chief of International Organization for Migration, Mission in Romania

The final version of the research report will be published in a form of 120 A5 book in about 100 items. Although the policy implications cover an important part of the paper, it mainly focuses on providing a better understanding of irregular migration, on its root causes, means and effects at several social and economic levels, bridging the perspectives of concerned authorities with those of migrants themselves. Beside the institutions mentioned above, the published research paper will aim to reach the academic environment, IGOs and NGOs active in the filed of labour migration and migrant-workers’ rights.

The research paper, already discussed in a draft version at Center on Migration Policy and Society – Oxford during the presentation held in June 2006, will be published online in the working paper series of this policy center.

The list of potential publishers also includes:

        The online journal of OSI's EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP)


 The Romanian Sociology Review


 Migration Online


         The Policy Warning Report series of Romanian Academic Society