ROMANIA - Quota Reached for Assignment Work Permits – Biometric Residence Permits Now Ready
The Romanian immigration authorities have announced that 2011 quotas have been reached for work permits for assignments (secondments), meaning that no new applications can be submitted or approved until 2012. Work permits for local hires are not affected. Also, and on a more positive note, the Romanian authorities have now started issuing biometric residence permits, after a delay of several months, although the first applicants to collect their permits have experienced long waiting times.
Work Permit Quota Reached
Romania operates a quota system for issuing work permits to foreign nationals. There are different quotas for locally hired foreign employees and for foreign nationals sent on assignment (i.e. who maintain their contract and payroll outside Romania). The 2011 quota for foreign nationals on assignment has now been reached. No new applications will be approved, or even accepted, until the new quota numbers for 2012 have been determined and announced.
The quota for 2011 for assignees was 600 places; as yet, the figure for 2012 has not been announced. Note that work permits for foreign nationals on assignment cannot be renewed or extended in any case; assignees needing to extend their stay in Romania beyond one year are required to obtain local hire work permits.
Biometric Residence Permits Now Issued
The Romanian immigration office in Bucharest is now distributing biometric residence permits. The issuance of these cards has been delayed since applications were first made in September due to printing problems. The new cards contain a chip with biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) in line with EC regulations 1030/2002 and 380/2008.
The first one hundred cards have now been issued. Collection in person is required, and applicants have experienced long waiting times at the immigration office. For this reason, the immigration office is extending their working hours, effective immediately. Residence permits issued for employment/secondment may be picked up on Wednesdays from 10:30am to 12:30pm and on all other weekdays from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.
The Romanian national printing house is now said to be technically capable of producing biometric permits within the officially permitted processing time (30-45 days), so the delays experienced so far should be coming to an end. However, if temporary certificates are still available in case of need. These may be used by foreign nationals still waiting for the issuance of their residence permits.
- Note that work permits for assignees cannot be applied for or granted until new quotas are announced in 2012
- Note that biometric residence permits are now being issued, but that applicants are experiencing long waiting times; advise local staff accordingly
- Note that the opening times of the immigration office for collection of residence permits have been extended; advise local staff accordingly