Italians flock to Albania in search of work

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Albania’s economy grew by 1.3 percent last year, whereas Italy’s contracted by 1.9 percent. Tirana photo: Shutterstock
08:00 CEST+02:00
There has been a jump in the number of Italians moving to Albania for new opportunities, with 19,000 taking up work or study visas, Italian media reported on Thursday.

The figures from the Albanian government represent “a real boom”, sociologist Rando Devole was quoted in Il Messaggero as saying.

“That says a lot about the Italian crisis, but also about the growth of Albania through its own immigrants,” he said.

Albanian immigrants to Italy have acted as ambassadors for their country, “convincing owners of small businesses in Italy to open in another part of the Adriatic coast,” Devole said.

Although Albania is not yet a member of the EU - the country submitted its formal application in 2009 - Italians reportedly face few barriers in moving there.

“There isn’t the bureaucracy. You can open a business in a day without any particular restrictions,” Neritan Ceka, Albania’s ambassador to Italy, was quoted as saying.

“At the moment Albanians are more optimistic than the Italians, just like Italians were in the 1960s,” according to Ceka.

Albanians have good reason to be feeling positive; according to the World Bank, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was set to grow by 2.1 percent this year and 3.0 percent in 2015.

Whereas Albania’s economy grew by 1.3 percent last year, Italy’s contracted by 1.9 percent.

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Forecasts for economic growth in Italy this year range from the government’s 0.8 percent to the 0.6 percent put forward by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

SEE ALSO: Surge in the number of Italians moving to the UK

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