What is the change? A new work permit adjudication system called the “Approval Scheme” will go into effect Nov. 28.

What does the change mean? The new scheme imposes an additional labor market testing requirement on employers applying for work permits for non-EU nationals. It also requires employers to have additional pre-requisite work permit documentation, including criminal clearance certificates for the employer. The implementation of the new system could also cause administrative delays.

  • Implementation timeframe: Nov. 28.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits for non-EU nationals.
  • Who is affected: Employers applying for work permits for non-EU nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: The Romanian government has said the 30-day turnaround for work permit applications will not change, but it is anticipated there may be initial administrative delays as the new scheme is put into place.
  • Business impact: : The changes include an additional labor market testing requirement for employers.
  • Next steps: Employers should be prepared to demonstrate that they conducted additional labor market testing as part of their work permit applications. The changes will affect pending applications.

Background: Employers would still be required to submit an employment approval application to the General Inspectorate for Immigration through their representatives under the new scheme. The new approval application will include an additional labor market testing requirement, namely placement of at least three advertisements in a widely read publication. Approval will only be available to employers who have paid taxes for the previous quarter, who do not have Labor Code or criminal convictions, and who have not been hit with employment-related sanctions in the previous three years.

Once the approval is granted, the employee can apply for a work visa and, eventually, a residence permit. Employers who do not comply with the new requirements or allow foreigners to work without relevant documentation, such as an employment contract, could face fines ranging from €150 to €4500. They could also face closure of their workplace or denial of state-provided subsidies for more serious violations. While intracompany transferees (along with highly skilled EU Blue Card workers, professional athletes and cross-border workers) will be exempt from the labor market testing requirements, intracompany transferees will require secondment approval during the initial stage of the relocation process.

BAL Analysis: The new scheme will impose an additional labor market testing requirement on employers applying for work permits for non-EU nationals. Companies should take care to follow the new rules in order to avoid stiff penalties. Pending applications must be amended with additional documents in accord with the new rules. Employers should also anticipate the possibility of administrative delays, particularly as the new scheme is put into place.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Romania. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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