Brain Drain Continues as over 48,000 Albanians Take Residence in Germany

by Cristian Florescu

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, write

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.

Compared to its non-EU neighbours, 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.

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

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