As she left the country before its declaration of independence, Nadejda did not get the Republic of Moldova citizenship, so she had to follow all the procedures for legalizing her stay here. She is pleased with the services provided by the BMA office in Balti. “I have all my documents in order. Now we came to get a stay permit for my husband. They gave us a list of documents that we have to bring,” explains the woman.
Better conditions for elderly people and persons with disabilities
Nina Macarova is also one of the Service beneficiaries. She is over 80 years old and moved from the Russian city - Syktyvkar. As she has no one to care for her, she moved in with her daughter, who lives in Camenca, a town from the left side of the Nistru River. “It is the second time when we come to this Service and we are very pleased. It is very important for an elderly person not to stay too long in a queue. Here they serve us very rapidly, and the personnel is very nice,” says the old lady.
Persons with disabilities also enjoy better conditions. Before renovation, the building was practically inaccessible for people in wheelchairs. One of the employees of the Service, Ana Vortolomei, mentioned that two weeks ago, a woman in the wheelchair came to conclude the stay permit for her husband, who is a foreign citizen. “She was very pleased as previously she could not get into the building all by herself. She always had to ask for somebody’s help so as to get up on the stairs. Now she has used the access ramp and she did well,” remembers the employee.
Over 600 applications in a period of 4 months
The reasons for which the foreigners end up living in Moldova are very different, but most of them settle down here after getting married with Moldovan citizens, states Ana Lupascu, the Head of the one-stop-shop for foreigners’ documentation under the BMA’s North Regional Service.
In total, over the first four months of the current year, the employees of the one-stop-shop have processed 661 applications lodged by citizens from 51 countries of the world. The majority of applicants originate from Ukraine, Russia, Romania, but also from Italy, CIS states, Turkey. A smaller number of persons come from such countries as Lithuania, Denmark, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Portugal.
“Some people live in the city, but there are a lot of persons opting for living in villages. For instance, an Italian citizen who got married here three years ago, has already learned the Romanian language, has a house in the countryside, grows maize, tomatoes, cucumbers, and takes care of an orchard. He does not want to leave Moldova and he is very happy that he can live in our country,” says Ana Lupascu.
Besides the stay permits, the one-stop-shop also processes the documents lodged by Moldovan citizens inviting foreigners to visit the country, the documents which are necessary for foreigners’ employment on the labor market, for foreigners to study in the country or for their involvement in humanitarian, religious and other activities.
A separate category of the Service beneficiaries would be the foreigners who work legally in the northern districts of the country. The Free Economic Zone from Balti operates in the region and hosts over 50 economic units, the Free Economic Zone from Ocnita “Otaci-Business”, as well as foreign investors. “We really focus on working with business representatives from outside the country and attracting foreign investments. For instance, about 30 foreign citizens are assembling currently a production line in one of the enterprises from Balti. There are many foreigners in leadership positions, top managers, and general directors in the Free Economic Zone. Besides, there is a training center operating here, which hosts Bulgarians, Serbians, and citizens from other states. All these specialists have to get a special permit to be able to be employed legally,” clarifies Boris Gandrabura.
At the same time, this structure also has the role of combating illegal stay and undeclared work. “Annually, about 500 foreigners involved in illegal situations are being identified. Last year, 220 were removed from the country due to this reason. All the other succeeded to legalize their stay, after being fined in compliance with the legislation in force,” states the Head of the North Regional Service of the BMA.
Very soon, a center for foreigners’ integration will start operating under Balti Regional Service. This will be one of the three zonal structures which will operate in Balti, Cahul and Chisinau, according to a Government Decision. The establishment of the respective centers is one of the conditions set in the European Union – Republic of Moldova Association Agreement.
Just like other structures of this type, the center from Balti will facilitate the study of Romanian language, familiarizing foreigners with Moldovan traditions and culture, employing them on the labor market or providing a safe economic activity as a subsistence source.
The renovation of the BMA’s North Regional Service premises was possible thanks to a number of donor institutions. Thus, the European Union has contributed with about 6 million MDL as budgetary support. The US Embassy in the Republic of Moldova has allocated 1.450 million MDL through a project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided assistance for developing the modern design, manufacturing the furniture and procuring a set of computers for a total value of 900,000 MDL.
The BMA’s North Regional Service serves 13 districts: Edinet, Briceni, Ocnita, Donduseni, Riscani, Drochia, Glodeni, Floresti, Falesti, Soldanesti, Singerei, Rezina, Telenesti, and Balti city.