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Future Challenges | Albania |

Albania Background Information Historical Developments Key Stages Characteristics of Current Migration Flows Irregular Emigration Refugees and Asylum Seekers Immigration since 1990 Irregular Immigrants Refugees and Asylum Seekers Development of Migration-Related Policies Citizenship Current Developments Future Challenges References and Further Reading

Future Challenges

Julie Vullnetari

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There are again three key challenges Albania faces in the near future as regards migration:

    • Decline of remittances

In the short term the effects of declining remittances may be softened by two factors, both of which are related to the migrant population in Greece, which is also the most numerous and used to send the larger sums. First, as the state of Greece's economy worsens, there is a steady return of Albanian migrants to Albania, bringing with them their savings too. Second, fearing a collapse of the Greek banks many migrants who decide to stay in Greece have moved their savings to Albanian banks. In macro-economic terms there is thus perhaps a neutralization of the lack of remittances effect. In micro-terms, however, both returnees and those staying on have reduced expenditure to the minimum so long as both Greece and Albania are not yet out of the recession.

  • Return migration

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.

  • Immigration

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.

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Julie Vullnetari is post-doctoral researcher at the Sussex Centre for Migration Research, School of Global Studies of the University of Sussex in the UK. Email: E-Mail Link: