Starting in 1990, Albania has witnessed one of the great emigrations of recent times; ten years
later at least 600,000 Albanians, one in five of the population, were living abroad, mainly in Greece
and Italy. An equally significant, but less well-documented internal redistribution of the population
has taken place over the same time frame. The socio-economic impacts of this includes: for internal migration the hyper-rapid growth of the main Tirana-Durrës urban axis, coupled with rural depopulation, especially in the mountainous regions of the north and south of the country. For external migration, depopulation is again an important issue; but equally vital are the effects of remittances on the home country, at a variety of levels, together with the prospects for return migration and the developmental impulse that this might bring.
Since the Second World War, the rest of the Balkan region has witnessed the largest set of population movements in Europe, including labour migration to northern Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and displacements as a result of conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo in the 1990s. The region is now a source of concern to European policymakers as a source of the trafficking of exploited workers, especially sex workers.
The Migration DRC’s work in this area has focussed on quantative analysis on the relationship between poverty and migration in Albania, and policy dialogue on the sustainabilty of return in the post-conflict Balkan countries.
Following a focus on DFID priority countries in 2008-09, CESS is not currently actively participating in DRC research, but it is still partnering on number of other projects.