Returned Albania Migrants Face Hardship, Study Shows

A study by the National Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, and the International Organization for Migration, IOM, points to the difficulties Albanian migrants face when returning home.

Gjergj Erebara
BIRN

Tirana

A man walks past a wooden pylon from which a thicket of electric wires spread out to surrounding buildings and households in Tirana, Albania, on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014. Photo by : AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

A study over 133,000 Albanian migrants, who formerly resided in Greece and Italy and returned home from 2011 to 2013, paints a bleak picture of the problems they have encountered, trying to reintegrate into Albanian society.

The study says many of the returned migrants, most of whom came back between 2012 and 2013, see return to Albania in only temporary terms, hoping to go abroad again.

Only 40 per cent of the returnees see their future in Albania, and only 8 per cent of them have been able to start a small business of their own.

“The goal of this study was to create a profile of the returned migrant and to better identify his/her needs,” the head of INSTAT, Gjergj Filipi, told a presentation of the study on Tuesday.

Migrants left Albania in waves in the troubled decade of the Nineties, with up to 60,000 people leaving the country every year. According to INSTAT, between 2001 and 2011, 480,000 people left Albania.

According to the study, the average age of the returned migrants is 38.6 and they spent an average of six years away from home.

Some migrants have returned home with school-age children, born abroad, and many have returned to work the land, as the only means to support themselves.

Six out of every ten migrants who have returned home now live in their original place of residence. The rest have moved to the cities, which suggests that the mass return of emigrants is spurring internal migration.

Many returnees remain without work, adding to Albania’s economic burden.

“Roughly 59 per cent of the migrants that returned home were unemployed before their return [in the host country],” ISTAT noted.

“The unemployment rate was 60 per cent at the moment of their return, and was 50 per cent at the moment they were being interviewed [in Albania],” it added.

According to INSTAT, the small drop in the rate of unemployment among the returnees is almost entirely down to self-employment. Sourse: BalkanInsight

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