There are again three key challenges Albania faces in the near future as regards migration:
Decline of remittances
Although most host countries were affected by the global economic crisis, it is return from Greece which is gaining momentum. Most returnees are those who have been hit the hardest by losing their jobs and not being able to make ends meet; they come back to poor households in rural areas where future prospects are very grim. This brings challenges of increased unemployment and perhaps even social unrest, especially as Albania has been a remittance-dependent economy for years with a very narrow production and export base. This may be softened somewhat by re-migration. Indeed, returnees from Greece and even Albanians still residing in Greece are joining the Greek waves of emigration towards more prosperous northern European countries such as Germany and the UK. The latter is especially attractive because of its non-euro membership and the relatively robust labor market, made more accessible to Albanians by the existence of a sizeable Albanian migrant community.
Existing figures suggest that Albania continues to be a country of emigration and it has a long way to go before becoming one of immigration. Considering Albania as a country of transit migration or immigration remains – at least for the moment – an EU-inspired political rhetoric not based on hard facts, as existing figures on both types of movements clearly show. On the other hand, it is fruitful to plan for such developments in advance.