Despite the increasing permenant nature of Moldovan migration, the effects of the economic crisis has meant an increase in return. The crisis led to deterioration in poverty and human development, notably in rural areas, with approximately one fifth of migrants returning in 2009. In 1stquarter of 2009 18% more Moldovan migrants returned compared to the respective period of 2008. Those who return enter an already contracted labour market (54% increase in unemployment in 1st quarter 2009 compared with 2008; one third of unemployed are under 29). The returnees find it difficult to integrate into the domestic labour market, due to the stiff competition (more than 10 applicants competing for each vacancy). As more migrants return, and given the ratio of young people among migrants and migrants’ mainly rural origins, the effects, in terms of youth unemployment will be felt mostly in rural areas.

Providing returning migrants with socio-professional reintegration assistance and employment opportunities can prevent re-migration and act as a pull factor for those still abroad. Active participation of the target group in selection of the reintegration option that suits best their needs and abilities will enhance their successful reintegration. Migration remains an attractive opportunity and affects the social tissue, as evidenced by the large number of children left behind by migrants without appropriate care.

Remittances, which peaked at $ 1.7 bn and a ratio of more than 30% to GDP in 2008, registered a significant drop, they nevertheless remain a mainstay of the economy, yet their productive investment is still limited at less than 10%, partly due to the prevailing low financial literacy and deficient entrepreneurship culture.

Moldovan migration management, however, needs to take into account also the large diaspora living abroad and take advantage of the benefits it can bring to the development back in country of origin. The Government’s and media’s outreach to the large Diaspora is insufficient while the latter is a potential actor in Moldova’s development. The responsible Government institutions currently lack the capacity to effectively manage the Diaspora, maintain its ties to the homeland and promote its involvement in the country’s development. Besides the migrants who maintain ties with their families in Moldova, an increasing number are settling abroad permanently (an estimate by Moldovan authorities puts the figure at approx. 300,000 persons).

That is why actions are needed to enhance the homeland development potential of migrants’ resources and offset detrimental social consequences of migration, by: meeting the reintegration challenges of returning migrants and young unemployed; addressing limited financial literacy and entrepreneurship culture; boosting productive investment of remittances and other Diaspora resources; mitigating the negative impact of migration on families; addressing limited capacity to maintain contacts with and support Moldovans abroad.

Managing Moldova's migrants, many of whom are abroad irregularly, is a major challenge for Moldovan government and the partners that assist it, including IOM and other stakeholders. IOM supports policies that promote orderly and safe migration, respecting human rights while developing sustainable domestic and social polices that promote economic alternatives to seeking work abroad. The project will support Government in deploying policies based on a sound understanding of the complex relationship between migration and development, working on development-oriented actions, which can help tackling the root causes of migration, and on bettering migration management, which contributes positively to economic growth, social empowerment and technological progress.