Corruption and rule of law main factors in migration motivation in Albania

 A record number of about 52,000 Albanian citizens filed asylum requests in Germany for the period January-November 2015, skyrocketing 645% compared to the same period last year, according to data released by Germany’s Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Last autumn, Germany listed Albania together with Kosovo and Montenegro as safe countries of origin in order to reduce the influx of people from the Balkans, mostly fleeing poverty rather than conflict.

Yet, poverty seems not to be the only motive behind the surge in asylum applications for Albanians, but also endemic corruption and organized crime as well as a perceived lack of a quality of life in the future by Albania’s younger generation.

In fact, in terms of asylum applications in Germany, Albanians ranked second behind war-torn Syria, but for some Albanians as a Deutsche Welle story on this topic reports, they are going through a different kind of war.

“There’s war in our country, too. A war not fought with bombs, but a necessity war, a struggle for survival,” says a young Albanian couple mentioned in the DW report.

Regardless of their chances for a successful approval of their asylum claims standing close to zero due to Albania’s status as a safe country of origin, the couple remains hopeful despite being aware of the fact, citing a bleak perspective back home.

Meanwhile, the perceived lack of hope among Albanians is believed to be behind a record breaking number of applicants for the U.S Green Card lottery estimated to be around 200,000, including family members. The lottery annually grants immigrant visas to the United States for a lucky few.

The German ambassador to Tirana, Hellmut Hoffmann, confirmed claims that poverty is not the only culprit during a public appearance last November, saying that the unprecedented influx of Albanians seeking asylum in Germany was not just a matter of extreme poverty, adding that some of them had even well-paid jobs back in Albania. Hoffman suggested back then that the issue should be part of a large national debate leaving politics aside.

However, the issue has been a hot topic in Albanian politics for quite some time with the opposition blaming the record number of asylum claimants on government policies and with the government refuting the claims saying that the bulk of the asylum seekers are Albanian migrants returning from Greece due to hardships faced as a result of the economic crisis there.

Another factor driving the number of Albanians seeking asylum higher in addition to the perceived corruption and the lack of perspective is also the poor state of medical facilities in Albania and the fact that people have to pay to obtain the necessary medical treatment.

Since Jan. 1, Albanian citizens as well as other Balkan countries are eligible for qualification courses or employment in Germany, in case they receive an official work offer and haven’t received social benefits as asylum seekers in the past 24 months.
Corruption and rule of law main factors in migration motivation in Albania Corruption and rule of law main factors in migration motivation in Albania Sunday, January 10, 2016 Rating: 5
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