Patterns and Trends of Migration and Remittances in Moldova

This paper was commissioned by the Moldova office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and describes the main findings of the 2006 IOM/CBSAXA household survey on migration and remittances in Moldova. Above all, the migrant population of approximately 350,000 individuals is highly diverse in terms of poverty status, economic circumstances, regional origin within Moldova, and educational background. We distinguish four main groups: (i) construction workers in CIS countries, who make up one third of all migrants; (ii) other migrants in CIS countries (about one quarter); (iii) migrants in the EU and Israel (one third); (iv) all others, including Turkey, Romania, and Cyprus (12 percent). In general, migrants in the CIS face low costs of migration, but have to put up with poor living and conditions. Migrants in the EU are very often undocumented (travel to the destination country can cost up to EUR 4,000), but earn higher wages and live in less precarious circumstances. In 2006, Moldova received migrant remittances of more than US$ 1 billion; across households, the distribution of remittances was highly skewed, with a small number of households receiving very large remittances (which are not captured well by the CBSAXA survey). Around 40 percent of the Moldovan population live in households that receive remittances; such households have been more successful than others in escaping from self-percieved poverty. The paper concludes with a discussion of policies that could help to further harness migration and remittances for the sustainable economic development of Moldova.

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JEL Classification
F22, F24, O15