IMF puts Moldova in first place for illegal immigrant cash in 2008


The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Moldova will be the world leader for the amount of money sent home by migrants in 2008. Most of the Moldovan workers abroad are illegal immigrants. This year, the country placed second among 200 countries worldwide.

In 2008 Moldova will be the world’s leading country in terms of money which migrant workers send home. In this year’s survey, Moldova ranks second in the world for the amount of money sent home by migrants to their families. 27% of Moldova’s GDP consists of the $854 million sent home from abroad. The numbers are taken from a just-released report called “Moldova - Migration Problems.” Among some 200 countries in the world, the African state of Togo ranks as number one. Togo, a failed state, is one of the poorest countries in Africa. Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. In the most recent Failed State Index 2006 from the Washington based Foreign Policy, Moldova was listed as a failed state by the magazine. Economically, Moldova ranks equal to Afghanistan.

Human beings are today Moldova’s leading export. Nearly half of Moldova’s working-age population have already abandoned the country to find work abroad as ‘gast arbeiters’ and now send money home to support family members who they left behind. Most of them work illegally, without residence permits or proper papers in the destination countries. They are undocumented aliens and illegal immigrants, and some are sold into the sex slave trade. Others provide the source material for a roaring trade in illegal human organs. Worse still, in April and May of this year, two human rights groups pointed out that Moldovan government officials are involved in the sale of child prostitutes, and the 2007 US State Department report on human trafficking pinpoints Moldova as one of the worst problem areas in Europe. “This is not the kind of country we want to be part of,” says Tiraspol resident Oleg Atroshchyk, confirming that he supports Pridnestrovie’s existence as a separate, sovereign state which is fully independent of "the disastrous statehood experiment that is known as the Republic of Moldova." Over the past seven years, the percentage that money transfers contribute to the Moldovan GDP has increased from 8 to 27%.

Experts from the International Monetary Fund believe that money transfers will continue to grow to $1.4 billion by 2008. This will represent almost a doubling of current figures in less than a year, and will put Moldova squarely in pole position as the country, which is most dependent on foreign remittances in the world. “We are Europe’s Mexico,” says Delu, a migrant worker quoted by researchers. Instead of crossing the Rio Grande, these European “wetbacks” cross the Prut and the Dniester rivers to find a way out of their country. Most of them have no plans to ever return.

Freedom House, a pressure group, says: “Some 800,000 inhabitants of Moldova have left the country to pursue a better life elsewhere, and the majority of the country’s remaining population lives in poverty.” Almost half of Moldova’s labor force have left the country to seek work abroad, and 57% of them are working in Russia. The rest are primarily in the European Union where the vast majority hide in the shadows as illegal immigrants. Speaking Romanian and ethnically Romanian, Moldovan men present themselves as Romanians when they are in other countries.

Moldova used to be part of Romania until Communist dictator Stalin took it away in World War II and forced it into the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, Moldova denounced its incorporation into the Soviet Union as "null and void from the beginning" and broke free to declare independence as the Republic of Moldova in 1991. Although it tried to take a non-Moldovan part of the former Russian Empire with it, its inhabitants opposed the move and declared independence as the Pridnestrovian Republic in 1990. Pridnestrovie has never been part of Romania or of any independent Moldovan state at any time in history, and has always been inhabited by a majority Slavic population where Russian is the most widely spoken language. Local consider the Moldovan claim on Pridnestrovie to be irredentist in nature and want to decide their own future through a democratic referendum supervised by the international community.

“One thing is sure: We do not want to be part of Moldova,” says Bogdan Voda, a resident of a village south of Tiraspol. “Even the Moldovans are leaving Moldova. We would we want to join a country that even its own people don’t want to be part of?" (

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