A very small number of migrants enter Albania clandestinely – often via Greece – aiming to transit to Italy. Others overstay their visa or – as in the case of Turkish citizens – their 90-days period of free-visa stay. In 2001 the 'pre-screening procedure' was introduced, according to which a team of representatives from UNHCR, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), the IOM (International Organization for Migration), and MoI's Directorate for Asylum and Refugees would provide an indication as to whether an individual apprehended by the Albanian authorities might be a refugee, economic migrant, or victim of trafficking. They were then referred to relevant authorities so that they could apply for asylum, receive assistance as victims of trafficking or return voluntarily with IOM's support as might be the case. There were no specific provisions for those who fell outside of these categories.
In 2008 two pieces of legislation were passed to this effect: first, the MoI's Instruction 'On the Procedure to Be Implemented by the State Police for Selection of Irregular Foreigners at the Border' and second, the law 'On Foreigners'. As a result, irregular migrants apprehended in Albania who fall outside of the aforementioned categories are issued with an order of expulsion, implying their voluntary departure, followed by an expulsion order through coercion if they fail to leave within the set time limit. In such cases, irregular migrants are detained in a closed centre until the expulsion order is enforced, which can last up to six months, extended for another six on justified grounds.
Most transit migrants are South Asians, especially Afghans, but also include some Chinese, Kurds and Africans.
Table 8: Number of removals of irregular Third Country Nationals to their countries of origin, 2006-10
Source: MoI data in Dedja (2012b), p. 106