/Episode 01

The departure

The motivations behind the choice to leave for work abroad and the difficulties encountered while trying to find a safe and secure workplace.


/Authorities’ attitude

'Who made me leave Romania?!'

… is the question the Romanian Labor and Social Protection Minister Violeta Alexandru asked Elisabeta Moldovan, a strawberry farm worker in Germany.

This dialogue is perhaps the most telling example of how little the authorities empathize with the situation of Romanian migrant workers.

The authorities’ attitude

/The leaving experience

Going to work in a foreign country is experienced as a temporary uprooting.

Workers leave the country every year for a few weeks at a time, up to several months. Breaking away from what home means to them is a recurring experience in the lives of seasonal workers. Family responsibilities and the feeling of homesickness are among the reasons why many choose to return to the country, although they continue to struggle financially.

Sometimes, children who have become adults in the meantime end up following their parents to work abroad. Over time, seasonal work turns into a permanent lifestyle, passed down in the family from one generation to the next.

/The first departure

Romanians choose to go West mainly because of financial shortcomings: to be able to build a house, pay off bank loans, ensure the education their children need, or the day-to-day survival of their families. The decision to go abroad is often a battle for survival. Others, however, leave out of curiosity, to learn a trade, or develop certain skills. The latter are rather the exception.

For some people, temporarily leaving for work abroad turns into a long-term life strategy, through which they manage to solve their financial problems.

/Work in Romania

I had a job, but poorly paid. Work in Romania is not well-paid, it’s not valued. Romanians are hard-working people, they’re open, they’re willing to work, but they always leave. It’s not that they don’t like Romania, we have a good, rich, and beautiful country, but the wages are very low.

— Aurel Munteanu

  • Maintenance worker in the hotel industry
  • Location: France
  • Age: 49

Finding a job in a foreign country is a difficult, even risky process.

In the absence of an efficient National Strategy for coordinating and recruiting the seasonal work force abroad, workers are forced to fend for themselves.

An acquaintance, friend, or close relative who already works in the West recommends a reliable employer or middleman. Others search for jobs on Google or dedicated Facebook groups.


Online recruitment

Solutions in finding a job


Transportation to the destination country, by bus or plane, is paid for by the worker – either in advance or deducted from the first salary.