Romanian Identity and Immigration in Europe

  • Remus Gabriel AnghelEmail author
  • Stefánia Toma
  • László Fosztó
Living reference work entry


In the past 20 years, Romanian migration has grown from small numbers to one of the largest migratory flows in Europe. Much of the literature on this topic covers case studies of the labor migration of ethnic Romanians. In the past few years, there has also emerged a literature focusing on the migration of the Romanian Roma. As these two broad topics rarely meet, this paper seeks to provide a more comprehensive view of Romanian migration, focusing on migrants’ social identities and putting together studies on the migration of people with different ethnic backgrounds.

Romania is a rather diverse society, with significant ethnic and religious minorities; therefore, we took into account the diversity of ethno-religious identities rather than considering Romanian identity as a homogeneous category. In order to provide a comprehensive view of migration, the paper distinguishes between ethnic migration, where migrants migrate to their kin states, labor migration of the majority, where migrants use their social capital in order to migrate, and migration of minorities, where migrants belonging to minorities use ties and networks in the same ethnic group. For the first case, the study analyzed the migration of Romanian Germans and Hungarians; for the second, that of ethnic Romanians; and for the third, the migration of Romanian Roma, a migratory flow that has attracted much attention in the past decade. Using this typology, the paper not only provides a more comprehensive and accurate image of migration from Romania but also discusses how identity and ethnicity can be meaningful categories in migration studies.


Romanian migration Ethnicity Religion Ethnic migration Labor migration 


  1. Anghel RG (2013) Romanians in Western Europe. Migration, status dilemmas and transnational connections. Lexington Books/Rowman and Littlefield, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  2. Anghel RG (2016) Migration in differentiated localities: changing statuses and ethnic relations in a multi-ethnic locality in Transylvania, Romania. Popul Space Place 22:356–366. Scholar
  3. Anghel RG, Botezat A, Cosciug A, et al (2016) International migration, return migration, and their effects: a comprehensive review on the Romanian case. Bonn.
  4. Bauer T, Zimmermann FK (1997) Network migration of ethnic Germans. Int Migr Rev 31:143–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beluschi-Fabeni G, Leggio DV, Matras Y (2018) A lost generation? Racialization and stalled social mobility in a group of Roma migrants in the UK. Migr Stud.
  6. Bleahu A (2004) Romanian migration to Spain. Motivation, networks and strategies. New Patterns Labour Migr Cent East Eur 20–35Google Scholar
  7. Cingolani P (2009) Romeni d’Italia. Migrazioni, Vita Quotidiana e Legami Transnazionali. Il Mulino, BolognaGoogle Scholar
  8. Ciobanu RO (2015) Multiple migration flows of Romanians. Mobilities. Scholar
  9. Ciornei I (2012) The political incorporation of immigrant associations and religious organizations of the Romanian residents in Spain. Stud Sociol 57:51–76Google Scholar
  10. Coșciug A (forthcoming) Religion, return migration and change in an emigration country. In: Anghel RG, Fauser M, Boccagni P (eds) Transnational return and social change. Social hierarchies, cultural capital and colelctive identities. Anthem Press: LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Creţan R, Powell R (2018) The power of group stigmatization: wealthy Roma, urban space and strategies of defence in post-socialist Romania. Int J Urban Reg Res 42:423–441. Scholar
  12. Csedö K (2008) Routes leading to London: negotiating skills in the global city. London School of EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  13. Dietz B (1999) Ethnic German immigration from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to Germany: the effects of migrant networks. Discussion paper no. 68. IZA Discussion paper series. IZA, BonnGoogle Scholar
  14. Diminescu D (2003) Visible Mais peu Nombreux. Les Circulations Migratoires Roumaines. Éditions de la Maison de Science des L’Homme, ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Elrick T, Ciobanu O (2009) Migration networks and policy impacts: insights from Romanian-Spanish migrations. Glob Netw J Transnatl Aff 9:100–116(17)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Engbersen G, Erik S (2013) Liquid migration. Dynamic and fluid patterns of post-accession migration flows. In: Grabowska-Lusinska I, Kuvik A, Glorius B (eds) Mobility in transition. Migration patterns of EU enlargement. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, pp 21–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fosztó L (2018) Encounters at the margins. Activism and research in Romani studies in postsocialist Romania. In: Beck S, Ivasiuc A (eds) Roma activism. Reimagining power and knowledge. Berghahn Books, Oxford/New York, pp 65–87Google Scholar
  18. Fox J (2007) From national inclusion to economic exclusion: ethnic Hungarian labour migration to Hungary. Nations Natl 13:77–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ganea L, Martin R (2006) Minorități și discriminare în agenda presei. Agenția de Monitorizare a Presei, BucharestGoogle Scholar
  20. Gödri I (2004) A special case of international migration: ethnic Hungarians migrating from Transylvania to Hungary. In: Finnish yearbook of population research. Väestöliitto, The Family Federation of Finland, pp 45–72Google Scholar
  21. Groenendijk K (1997) Regulating ethnic immigration: the case of the Aussiedler. New Community 23:461–482Google Scholar
  22. Horváth I, Anghel RG (2009) Migration and its consequences for Romania. Südosteuropa Zeitschrift für Polit und Gesellschaft 57:386–403Google Scholar
  23. López Catalán Ó (2011) Mobilitate forțată, poziții marginale și accesul la drepturile fundamentale. Migranții romi și politicile locale din Zona Metropolitană Barcelona. In: Toma S, Fosztó L (eds) Spectrum. Cercetări sociale despre romi. ISPMN /Kriterion, Cluj-Napoca, pp 231–266Google Scholar
  24. Marcu S (2015) From the marginal immigrant to the mobile citizen: reconstruction of identity of Romanian migrants in Spain. Popul Space Place. Scholar
  25. Matras Y (2000) Romani migrations in the post-communist era: their historical and political significance. Camb Rev Int Aff 13:32–50. Scholar
  26. Matras Y, Leggio DV (eds) (2018) Open borders, unlocked cultures Romanian Roma migrants in Western Europe. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. McMahon S (2015) Immigration and citizenship in an enlarged European Union : the political dynamics of intra-EU mobility. Palgrave Macmillan, BasingstokeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Meeus B (2012) How to “catch” floating populations? Research and the fixing of migration in space and time. Ethn Racial Stud 35:1775–1793. Scholar
  29. Morosanu L (2013) Between fragmented ties and “soul friendships”: the cross-border social connections of young Romanians in London. J Ethn Migr Stud. Scholar
  30. Moroşanu L, Fox JE (2013) “No smoke without fire”: strategies of coping with stigmatised migrant identities. Ethnicities. Scholar
  31. Münz R, Ohliger R (1997) Deutsche Minderheiten in Ostmittel – und Osteuropa, Aussiedler in Deutschland, Eine Analyse ethnisch privilegierter Migration. In: Kaelble H, Schriewer J (eds) Diskurse und Entwicklungspfade. Der Gesellschaftsvergleich in den Geschichts- und Sozialwissenschaften. Campus, Frankfurt am Main, pp 217–270Google Scholar
  32. Münz R, Ohliger R (2003) Diasporas and ethnic migrants. Germany, Israel and post-soviet succesor states in comparative perspective. Frank Cass, London/PortlandGoogle Scholar
  33. Nacu A (2011) The politics of Roma migration: framing identity struggles among Romanian and bulgarian Roma in the Paris region. J Ethn Migr Stud. Scholar
  34. Nacu A (2012) From silent marginality to spotlight scapegoating? A brief case study of France’s policy towards the Roma. J Ethn Migr Stud. Scholar
  35. Pantea MC (2012) From ‘making a living’ to ‘getting ahead’: Roma women’s experiences of migration. J Ethn Migr Stud 38:1251–1268. Scholar
  36. Pantea MC (2013) Social ties at work: Roma migrants and the community dynamics. Ethn Racial Stud. Scholar
  37. Perrotta D (2011) Rischio e disposizione predatoria. I rumeni irregolari in Italia tra il 2002 e il 2006. Mondi Migranti 67–84.
  38. Poledna RI (1998) Transformări Sociale la Saşii Ardeleni după 1945. Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Cluj NapocaGoogle Scholar
  39. Sandu D (2005) Emerging transnational migration from Romanian villages. Curr Sociol 53. Scholar
  40. Sandu D (2006) Locuirea temporară în străinătate. Migraţia economică a românilor: 1990–2006. The Foundation for an Open Society, BucharestGoogle Scholar
  41. Şerban M, Grigoraş V (2000) Dogenii din Teleormani în Ţară şi în Străinătate. Sociol Românească 2:30–54Google Scholar
  42. Stark T (2011) Population movements in the Carpathian Basin. In: Bárdi N, Fedinec C, Szarka L (eds) Minority Hungarian communities in the twentieth century. Atlantic Research and Publications, Distributed by Columbia University Press, Boulder/Budapest, pp 680–695Google Scholar
  43. Stewart M (2003) The Hungarian status law: a new European form of transnational politics? Diaspora J Transnatl Stud 12:67–101. Scholar
  44. Tesăr C (2015) Begging: between charity and profession. Reflections on Romanian Roma’s begging activities in Italy. In: Tauber E, Zinn D (eds) The public value of anthropology: engaging critical social issues through ethnography. Bozen-Bolzano University Press, Bozen-Bolzano, pp 83–111Google Scholar
  45. Toma S, Fosztó L (2018) Roma within obstructing and transformative spaces: migration process and social distance in ethnically mixed localities in Romania. Intersect East Eur J Soc Polit 4:1–20Google Scholar
  46. Toma S, Tesăr C, Fosztó L (2018) Romanian Roma at home: mobility patterns, migration experiences, networks, and remittances. In: Matras Y, Leggio DV (eds) Open borders, unlocked cultures : Romanian Roma migrants in Western Europe. Routledge, London/New York, pp 57–82Google Scholar
  47. van Baar H, Ivasiuc A, Kreide R (2019) The European Roma and their securitization: contexts, junctures, challenges. In: van Baar H, Ivasiuc A, Kreide R (eds) The securitization of the Roma in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp 1–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Weber G, Nassehi A, Weber-Schlenter R, et al (2003) Emigration der Siebenbürgen Sachsen. Studien zu Ost-West Wanderungen im 20. Jahrhundert. Westdeutscher Verlag, WiesbadenGoogle Scholar
  49. Wien UA (2018) Biserica Evanghelică C.A. din România începând cu anul 1918. In: Trașcă O, Anghel RG (eds) Un Veac Frământat. Germanii din România după 1918. Institutului pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităţilor Naţionale, Cluj-Napoca, pp 199–254Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Remus Gabriel Anghel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefánia Toma
    • 1
  • László Fosztó
    • 1
  1. 1.The Romanian Institute for Research on National MinoritiesCluj NapocaRomania

Section editors and affiliations

  • Lyndon Fraser

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations