From: Alice Taylor
Brain Drain Continues as over 48,000 Albanians Take Residence in Germany

Since 2018, a total of. 48,500 Albanians have been granted residence permits in Germany with 64%of these given between 2018-2020. Germany is now the second most preferred destination for Albanian emigrants after Italy and before neighbouring Greece.

The data also reveals that the large majority of Albanians who left the country, did so with their families, and 40% of the permits granted between 2019 and 2020 were to those under the age of 14. The number of those leaving for the Western European country is increasing at a concerning pace.

The alarm has already been sounded over the emigration of qualified medical personnel to Germany, including doctors and nurses, something the government disputes. While Albania has the lowest number of doctors and nurses per capita in Europe, around 20% of qualified Albanian medical staff work abroad. As of 2019, 765 Albanian nationals worked as doctors in Germany, a 21% increase on the previous year.

Mass Exodus of Medical Staff From Albania Felt During COVID-19 Pandemic

The WHO had also noted that Albania has one of the lowest rates of doctors-to-patients globally. Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu blamed this on the Democratic Party, stating that for four years. after 2013 (when the Socialist Party took power), the country could not produce specialist doctors. She said that since 2018, there are 309 more doctors in the system and that over 600 doctors and 2400 nurses have been employed.

Rama said that during 2018-2019, 400 new doctors were hired and 2200 nurses.  He said there were 1500 nurses on the waiting list for work.

All in all, since 2008, more than 700,000 Albanians have left to live in EU countries and have received residence permits. This excludes thousands of asylum applications in the EU and UK each month, of which up to 10% are considered founded.

Compared to its non-EU neighbors, the figures stick out like a sore thumb. In 2020, Albania had more first-time asylum applications to EU countries than Serbia, North Macedonia, and Kosovo combined. Figures for Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina were just a fraction of Albania’s total.

Reasons for asylum being granted include fleeing blood feuds, escaping human trafficking rings, domestic violence, political persecution, and links to organised crime.

Another worrying trend is the apparent increase in unaccompanied Albanian children seeking asylum. An Albanian child rights organization, CRCA/ECPAT, recently sounded the alarm over more than 60,000 minors who have applied for asylum outside the country during the last 10 years. This is equivalent to one in ten of all under 18s in Albania.

Analysis: The Albanian Problem of Asylum

Meanwhile, continued brain drain coupled with a low birth rate spells trouble for Albania’s future. As less people pay back into the system, the country will struggle with revenue, social services provision, and its economy.

Balkan brain drain could be costing the region its future