A total of 57% of the Romanians who emigrated would like to return to the country, according to a RePatriot survey carried out by Open-I Research.
The largest percentages of Romanians wishing to return were recorded in Italy (68%) and the United Kingdom (63%), and the lowest in Germany and the United States (43%). Of those living in Spain, 52% would like to return, and of those living in Canada, 60%. Italy and Spain are the European countries hosting the largest Romanian communities.
At the same time, 56% of the Romanians living abroad would like to invest in Romania. For them, the most attractive areas are tourism (for 37%) and agriculture (38%). Still, they see corruption as the main barrier to investing.
A total of 69% of the Romanians living in the UK would like to invest in the country.
“An interesting and natural trend in the Brexit context can be seen with the Romanians living in the UK. Besides wanting to return to Romania in high numbers, they also want to invest in the country, and most of them (56%) would like to start a business. The Romanians living in the diaspora and with experience in the business environment are the most appropriate catalyst in attracting new Romanian and foreign investment,” former state secretary Claudiu Vrînceanu, one of the leaders of the RePatriot project, said.
The main reason for which Romanians wish to return is “to be home again” (68%). At the same time, 47% would like to do something for Romania, and 39% want to start a business in the country.
Of those living in the diaspora, 43% estimate things will improve in Romanian in the coming years, while 26% think things will get worse.
“Of the Romanians not wishing to return to the country, or 43% of those who emigrated, 82% say the main reason for this is corruption, while 70% point to the political class. If these problems were to ameliorate, and the healthcare system improved and the bureaucracy decreased, they would take into account returning to the country. Unfortunately, those who no longer wish to return to the country are those who received the most investment through education. They have, more than the average, graduate studies and are aged between 25 and 45,” Adina Nica, managing director of Open-I Research, explained.
Romanians living in the diaspora keep in touch with their families. Some 71% of them transferred money into the country over the past 12 months. The highest percentage of those transferring money was reported in Spain (78%).
The questionnaire of the survey was filled online by 1,192 Romanians living in Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, US, France, Canada, Austria, Norway and Belgium. The survey was started in August 2017.
RePatriot is a project of the Romanian Business Leaders foundation. It is a platform offering counseling and information, and aiming to ease the access of Romanians living abroad to opportunities in the country.
The results of the study are available in Romanian here.