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Romania's rising wages will lure workers home

Rising wages and a growing economy will entice Romanian workers abroad to come home even as European Union membership gives them greater freedom of movement, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu predicted.

„Romania has one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and there are a lot of jobs which are better and better paid,'' Tariceanu said today at a news conference in the capital Bucharest during a visit by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. Countries including the UK, Ireland and Spain are taking measures to limit workers from Romania and Bulgaria, fearing a flood of migration after the Balkan nations joined the EU on January 1. About 2 million Romanians are working abroad, mostly in Italy and Spain, the government has estimated. Tariceanu said his government plans education campaigns among Romanian communities in Italy and Spain to lure migrant workers back. He said some Romanian companies offering jobs have already traveled to those countries.

Average net wages in Romania rose 17.3% in the year through November 2006 to 908 lei ($348) a month, which is below average wages in EU countries. Tariceanu predicted economic growth, which accelerated to an annual 8.3% in the Q3 last year, will boost wages further. The jobless rate was 5.2% in December, near a 15-year low. Romania's national association of construction companies said the nation of 22 million people needs to attract another 300,000 construction workers, doubling the current number, to meet demand as building booms, newspaper Ziarul Financiar reported on November 11. Bechtel Group Inc., a San Francisco-based construction company, said it's missing deadlines to build Romania's longest highway because it can't find enough workers, newswire Mediafax reported November 22. (Bloomberg)