Immigrants face slightly more obstacles than opportunities for societal integration in Albania, which scores 42 on the 100-point MIPEX scale. Albania’s score is lower than the average MIPEX country score of 49/100. Major obstacles seem to emerge on political participation and health as in the other Western Balkan countries. Additional obstacles emerge also on education, like in Croatia and North Macedonia.
Albania’s approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as ‘Equality on Paper’. Albania goes halfway to grant immigrants basic rights and protection, but they do not enjoy equal opportunities to participate in society. Albania’s approach is similar to the other Western Balkan countries (Albania, Croatia, and North Macedonia). Albania provides immigrants with fewer basic rights and opportunities than most MIPEX countries.
A country’s approach to integration matters because policies influence whether or not integration works as a two-way process. The way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact and think of each other. Albania’s current policies encourage the public to see immigrants as strangers instead of as their equals. Internationally, the ‘Top Ten’ MIPEX countries treat immigrants as equals, neighbours and potential citizens.
Albania’s integration policies are below average in Europe. Albania’s policies seem similar to policies in neighbouring North Macedonia.
- Labour market mobility: Halfway favourable: Newcomer foreign citizens in Albania have equal access to education, training and the recognition of foreign qualifications, but not, critically to the labour market itself. Immigrants receive little general and no targeted support to improve their professional skills and job prospects in Albania.
- Family reunification: Slightly favourable: While foreign citizens who can meet the economic and housing requirements can immediately apply, they face obstacles to reunite with several types of dependent family members and their status is insecure and uncertain. For example, their spouse/partners and children have no right to autonomous residence permit.
- Education: Slightly unfavourable: The small number of immigrant pupils in Albania enjoy the right to compulsory education but no support to access higher education. Schools receive almost no educational guidance or resources to support immigrant pupils or diversity at school.
- Health: Unfavourable: Ranked third from the bottom of all 56 MIPEX countries, migrant health policies are less favourable than in almost all the MIPEX countries. Immigrants in Albania can access the health system under some conditions, yet they receive no health information or support to access it in practice.
- Political participation: Unfavourable: Foreign legal residents are not informed about political opportunities, consulted, supported or allowed to vote in local elections.
- Permanent residence: Halfway favourable: After 5 years, immigrants who can pass the demanding language and economic requirements are able to settle permanent residents with equal socio-economic rights, as long as they do not leave the country for >1 year.
- Access to nationality: Slightly favourable: Ranked in the international top ten on citizenship, Albania offers ordinary immigrants and their Albanian-born children with a slightly favourable path to dual nationality, although the language and economic resource requirements may be demanding for immigrant adults.
- Anti-discrimination: Halfway favourable: People residing in Albania are protected from discrimination on ethnic/racial, religious but not nationality grounds, unlike the trend in most European countries. Potential discrimination victims also lack access to support from effective enforcement mechanisms and equality policies.