From: Alice Taylor
Albania’s Emigration Woes Continue at the EU’s Borders

Some 18,600 Albanian citizens were denied entry to the EU in 2021, the second most rejected nationality after Ukrainians.

Albania enjoys visa-free access to the European Union, but concerns over high-numbers of asylum seekers mean many get stopped at the border.

According to data from EUROSTAT, Ukrainian citizens accounted for the highest number of rejections with 50,200 followed by Albania. Moldova was third with 9,100 rejections.

Hungary rejected the most people with 34,700, followed by Poland, Croatia, and Romania. It is worth noting that since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Poland and Hungary have between them taken millions of Ukrainian refugees. This data compiled by EUROSTAT was prior to the escalation of Russian aggression and the outbreak of nationwide war.

Albanians were also amongst those most asked to leave an EU member state due to remaining their illegally, with 22,000 requests in 2021, among Algeria with 26,400 and Morocco with 21,800.

Albania continues to struggle with mass emigration, high numbers of citizens seeking asylum abroad, several hundred of which are granted. INSTAT, the country’s statistical agency found that between 2011-2022 a total of 7.5% of the population left the country, equivalent to 213,748 people.

This calculation accounts for the difference between those leaving, and those returning and represents the actual loss to the country. The figures are particularly concerning and show no sign of stabilising which is concerning as previous models suggested they would, three decades after the fall of the authoritarian communist regime.

The reality is that emigration is higher than ever and the figures could be even higher as Albania does not have a population register. Instead INSTAT use proxy data from various surveys and projections.

Reasons for leaving commonly include better economic opportunities, education, healthcare, and higher standards of living.