Government Plans to Register Diaspora

Government Plans to Register Diaspora

 The Albanian government set its initiative for registering the Albanian diaspora in motion by approving this week a draft law which stipulates the creation of a register for all Albanian citizens living abroad.

The move is expected to help determine the exact number of nonresident Albanian nationals, which in turn will help Albanian authorities provide better consular services for Albanian immigrants abroad, while it is also viewed as opening the possibility for Albanian émigrés being able to cast their vote in countries where they live in the future.

big_tahiri_-_bushatiThe country has about 4.5 million citizens registered in its civil registry, but only 2.8 million were residents according to the last census, which took place in 2011.

Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri during a press conference this week considered the decision as “laying the groundwork for a wide array of services for Albanian nationals abroad, including here the cornerstone or the first step towards guaranteeing voting rights for all Albanians living abroad.”

The right to vote for Albanian nonresidents in countries where they live and work has been a matter of public debate in the past, but so far the issue has failed to materialize resulting in just rhetorics.

Until now, in order to exercise voting rights immigrants have had to travel to Albania to cast their vote.

Such a project will also help the government to create more facilities for them in relation to legal aid, health and education, according to the authorities.

Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati, also present at the press conference, declared that “the initiative is also a payback from the Albanian state to its diaspora which has contributed for the social and economic development of the country in these twenty-five years”, while he added that “all consular services this year will be made available online to increase transparency but also to limit attempts of abuse of power, which unfortunately still occur to this day.”

The government previously announced plans for the registration of the Albanian diaspora last December and the latest move appears to reconfirm the government’s determination to address the issue.

The main method of registration for Albanian immigrants will occur via a portal, where people can declare themselves as Albanian citizens living abroad, while another way of registering will be through direct contact with Albanian consulates abroad.

About one million Albanians are estimated to be living in Greece and a smaller number are residents of Italy. There are also growing communities elsewhere in Europe as well as North America.

It is believed that more than one-third of the country’s citizens now live abroad.
Government Plans to Register Diaspora Government Plans to Register Diaspora Friday, January 15, 2016 Rating: 5
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