In Albania, 60 percent of the adult population wants to leave the country. Gallup’s latest worldwide survey conducted between 2015 and 2017 ranks Albania in the fourth place out of 152 countries.
Desire to migrate
Countries with slightly higher desire to migrate are Haiti (63%), Liberia (66%), and Sierra Leone (71%). When Gallup conducted the survey, Sierra Leone and Liberia were in the midst of an Ebola outbreak. War-torn Syria is ranked at 12th place (46%), followed by Kosovo (46%).
The worldwide average of people wanting to migrate was estimated at 15%, slightly higher than the average between 2013 and 2016. Albanians’ desire to migrate is four times higher than the world average.
Albania appears to be among countries suffering under wars, conflicts, famine and other disasters.
Similar surveys have been showing the increasingly higher desire for Albanians in recent years to abandon their country. Despite the useful analysis these surveys offer to policymakers, the Albanian government has not shown any plan to fight the trend and the extraordinary levels of dissatisfaction of people with their country’s situation.
The same Gallup survey puts Kosovo and Albania at the top of “brain drain” index in Europe, which measures the level of young, highly-educated people who want to leave the country with no plan to return. In Kosovo, 42% of the highly-educated young adults, and in Albania 32% of them would permanently leave their countries. Kosovo is also ranked third in the world in terms of brain drain index, following Sierra Leone (78%) and Syria (44%). Neighboring Montenegro has a positive score, with the possibility of welcoming 25% of its educated workforce from other countries.
Experts consider unemployment, low wages, high corruption, and lack of rule of law, opportunities, and changes as the main reasons why people in the Balkans want to flee. Alida Vračić, Executive Director of Populari in Bosnia and Herzegovina adds another factor – the suppression of freedom: “People just do not want to live in that environment, so it’s no wonder they leave their countries,” she says.
Whilst countries in the region recognize the high levels of outflow migration and the brain drain issue and take action against it, for the last five years the Albanian government has not discussed the issue or presented any concrete plan to improve it. Furthermore, the ongoing students protests have shown that students consider themselves as current and future “victims” of migration and brain drain, often only to be mocked and insulted by Prime Minister Edi Rama.