Although Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe; its economy has developed and seen consistent, significant growth since 1999. After declaring independence in 1991, Moldova experienced the slow dissolution of its Soviet industrial economy, and has spent the last two decades transitioning to a new market economy founded mainly on a growing service sector, which contributes more than 65% of its overall GDP.
Other significant sectors include industry (20%) and agriculture (15%) which produces the country's main exports, including Moldovan wine, soybeans, sugar beets, tobacco and wheat. The warm climate means that Moldova is suited to growing crops, and as such agriculture is one of the country's main employers.
Tourism is also a key element of the Moldovan economy. The country's warm climate draws visitors from across Eastern Europe, and wine connoisseurs come to Moldova to visit its many world-class vineyards.
Expatriates working in Moldova tend to be employed in senior management or technical positions in food processing, industry and agriculture, or work for NGOs, embassies or in governance. Many of these positions are based in the capital city, Chișinău, which has the lowest unemployment rate and best local economy in the country.
Expatriates wanting to work in Moldova need a work permit. As Moldova is not a member of the European Union, this is also true for EU nationals. Many expatriates usually secure work in Moldova first before applying for a work permit, as your prospective employer can then apply on your behalf.
Applications for work permits are made to the National Agency for Employment of the Ministry of Economy, and the individual must satisfy a number of criteria before the work permit can be granted, including taking a HIV test and providing evidence that they have a place of residence already secured. The individual must also have a long-stay visa in place before applying for the work permit.
Expatriates living and working in Moldova are required to pay income tax on their earnings. The progressive income taxation system means that you pay an amount of tax calculated from your annual income as per the following rates:
Individuals earning under 12,180 MDL are not required to pay income tax. Income tax will be deducted at source by your employer, so you do not need to complete a tax return.