The impact of labor migration from the Republic of Moldova on children left behind (perspectives from parents and caregivers)


The article presents the results of a sociological study that reflects the impact produced by the labour migration of parents from the Republic of Moldova on left-behind children seen from the perspective of adults – migrant parents, stay-behind parents, and caregivers. In December 2021 and January 2022, during the CASTLE (Children Left Behind by Labour Migration: Supporting Moldovan and Ukrainian Transnational Families in the EU) project, in the Republic of Moldova, 36 adults (labour migrant parents, stay-behind parents and caregivers) were interviewed. And during April 2022, 13 migrant parents and parents who stay home with their children participated in the focus group discussions. Sociological research has primarily focused on the following aspects: the general context of labour migration; relations with the local public administration; caring for left-behind children; the influence of labour migration on the physical health and psycho-emotional state of children; the influence of labour migration on academic success, kindergarten activities, and children’s social integration; communication between migrant parents and left behind children; the influence of labour migration on the well-being of transnational families and the material support given to children; plans for the future and expectations from the state. Among the main problems faced by children left at home and other members of transnational families, the following can be mentioned: communication deficiencies, the difficulties of remote education of children, the negative influence of migration on the psycho-emotional status of left-behind children, and the challenges of left-behind children’s socialisation. Parents and caregivers report other problems, such as communication deficiencies with local public administrations, communication problems within the community, and problems related to caring for children left at home. The absence for an extended period of one or both parents can cause inadequate care and support for left-behind children and many other problems. The study shows that some parents are very dissatisfied with what the state does for them. Adults (parents and caregivers) believe that the state is mainly to blame because the citizens are forced to leave. Even if there are specific positive influences on left-behind children and transnational families in general, such as material well-being, the negative influences of migration prevail. The article concludes that the impact of the labour migration of parents on left-behind children is vital. As a result of migration, there are many problems. State authorities and civil society must make joint efforts to support both migrant parents and left-behind children affected by migration.

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