Albanian Migration and Greek Crisis
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Albanian Migration and Greek Crisis Unemployment, De-regularization and Return Eda Gemi Research Fellow ELIAMEP Sofia, 14-02-2014. EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION. Background

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European web site on integration

Albanian Migration and Greek Crisis

Unemployment, De-regularization and Return

EdaGemi

Research Fellow

ELIAMEP

Sofia, 14-02-2014

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • Background

  • Albanians constitute the largest migrant community in Greece: 57% of the total migrant population and 5% of the total native Greek population (Triandafyllidou and Maroufof, 2012).

  • In the 1990’ the overwhelming majority of Albanians following mostly irregular migratory pathways.

  • In the early 2000s, most of these irregular movements and employment evolved into permanent settlement.

  • Reason: the successive regularisation programmes (1998, 2001, 2005) gave the opportunity to settle down, travel in a legal manner and allowed for family reunification.

  • From the turn of the century onwards, due to the selective application of long-term of stay permits and the introduction of visa liberalisation regime (2010), irregular movements have decreased.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • Economic Crisis and De-regularization

  • The breakout of economic crisis in Greece has hit harder the construction sector which have seen significant unemployment since 2008 (OECD, 2012).

  • Regular migrants lapse back into irregularity due to the high unemployment rates which was estimated to reach 36% for the third quarter of 2012 (LFS, 2012c).

  • According to IKA: in 2007 approximately 50% of insured Albanian immigrants were employed in “constructions” and for the first half of 2012 the average employment of Albanians in construction sector was no more than 20%.

  • About 130,000 to 140,000 Albanian migrant workers are estimated to lose their stay permits because they were unable to secure the required number of social insurance stamps (IKA) in order to renew their documents in Greece.

  • Comparing to previous years, the figures of stay permits for the 2012 stood at 300,839, a decrease by 128,191 compared with previous years.

  • The “map” of stay permit categories was almost overturned during the last two years: there is a slight increase in the categories of long term stay permits, while new permits issued for dependent and independent work were null.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • The decrease of stay permits for family reunification by 31% in 2012 comparing to 2010, suggests that Albanian migrants might lose their legal status if they or their spouses are jobless and without the required income for a certain period.

  • We can make the assumption that the decrease in the number of regular Albanian migrants regards the category who lapse from a regular status in irregular one.

  • It entails four sub-categories:

  • 1. Male Albanian legal workers than lose their status just because they lost their job during the economic crisis

  • 2. Female holders of stay permits for family reunification whose husbands lose their jobs.

  • 3. Second generation who when reach their adulthood face the danger of falling back into illegality: they will be expected to have a stay permit that need to be justified on the grounds of work, studies or other as they are no longer be dependents in order to get a permit for this purpose.

  • 4. Children whose parents fall into irregularity

  • Most of migrants involved in this process are male who used to work in construction sector or tourism followed by women who are mostly domestic workers.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • EU versus non-EU migrants 31% in 2012 comparing to 2010, suggests that Albanian migrants might lose their legal status if they or their spouses are jobless and without the required income for a certain period.

  • Evidence suggests that in the early period, until 2011, EU migrant households have been less affected by the crisis than non EU migrant families (Triandafyllidou 2012, Nikolova 2012).

  • Unemployment and underemployment was less pronounced among Bulgarians and Romanians.

  • Bulgarians and Romanians appear to be better inserted in their labour market as skilled construction workers, often self-employed and sometimes in salaried jobs.

  • Women are employed as live out cleaners mostly.

  • Their legal permanent status as EU citizens appears to have helped in the past in improving their employment situation and also now in not being under stress for renewing their stay permits.

  • By contrast Albanian men and families have been hit hardest by the crisis as they have lost usually their main job (in construction) and stay permit.

  • Among the women the EU vs. non EU divide appears less pronounced. All women working in the cleaning and caring sector note that there is less work available and that daily and monthly wages have decreased but they are still employed.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • Return 31% in 2012 comparing to 2010, suggests that Albanian migrants might lose their legal status if they or their spouses are jobless and without the required income for a certain period.

  • It is suggested that over 180.000 Albanians have returned to Albania in search of better employment prospects there (ACIT, 2012).

  • Albanian families with a long term status appear to be the most likely to return as they can keep the option of re-emigration open. The crisis is faced as an opportunity, also for upwards socio economic mobility (becoming self-employed).

  • Albanian workers whose families are back in Albania and who have lost their papers are also the most likely to return in Albania. In this case return is the failure of the migration project (no savings, “starting again from scratch”).

  • The migrants least likely to return despite job insecurity and lower salaries are those with a secure status (EU citizens) as is the case of Bulgarian and Romanians.

  • The migrants who had invested back home, appear to be more “prepared” for return and hence are more likely to use return as a coping strategy at times of crisis.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

  • For some others return remains the only “exit” option given the hardship they endured and despite the fact that they were less “prepared” to return.

  • The return plans of Albanians emphasise the role of family and other kinship networks for a sustainable return.

  • Bridging social capital, as that developed by Bulgarian and Romanian men provides a better shield against the crisis.

  • Bulgarian and Romanian mitigated more successfully the effects of the crisis thanks to mixed (Greek and co-national) networks (Triandafyllidou 2012).

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION


European web site on integration

The presentation make use of primary and secondary data developed and analysed by the following studies:

EdaGemi (2013), Albanian Irregular Migration To Greece: A New Typology of Crisis, http://irma.eliamep.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/IRMA-Background-Report_ALBANIA.pdf

Anna Triandafyllidou (2013), Migration in Greece: People, Policies ad Practices. http://irma.eliamep.gr/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/IRMA-Background-Report-Greece.pdf

Anna Triandafyllidou (2012), Migrant Livelihoods during the Greek crisis: Coping Strategies and the Decision to Return. Unpublished Paper.

Anna Triandafyllidoy and Marina Nikolova (2013). Bulgarian migration in Greece: past trends and current challenges. in Tanya Dimitrova and Thede Karl (eds) (2013) Migration from and towards Bulgaria. Berlin. Frank & TimmeVerlag.

EUROPEAN WEB SITE ON INTEGRATION