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Balkanalysis.com Briefing with Eglantina Zyka, Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Tirana, August 2011

Bratislava, Slovakia— On August 1, 2011 Balkanalysis.com contributor Maria-Antoaneta Neag held a briefing with Eglantina Zyka, Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Tirana’s Faculty of Economy. The briefing was held at the Center for the Research of Ethnicity and Culture (CVEK), after the Summer School of Ethnicity and Migration Studies (for more information on the NGO and this event, see Balkanalysis.com briefing with Dr Michal Vašečka, Director of CVEK).

During the briefing, Professor Zyka discussed the migration phenomenon in Albania that began during the early 1990s, when rapid political and democratic changes resulted in a number of economic and social changes, that led to increased urbanization as well as illegal migration. Although still a prevailing phenomenon in Albania, Professor Zika noted that the latter exists at lower levels than in the past. According to her, poverty and the lack of job opportunities for young and middle-aged people usually account for this pattern.

In the briefing, Professor Zyka also provided some very interesting insights about the migration patterns of Albanians. As in the 1990s, the majority tend to migrate to Greece, and mainly for seasonal labor. Fewer go to Western countries, such as Italy or the United Kingdom. This accounts for a lower outflux in January and a peak in May, followed by a decrease from June through August. The second peak is in September, followed by another decrease from October through December. More than half of the emigrants send money to their families or relatives in Albania through relatives or friends and through banking system, noted Professor Zyka.

In the briefing, it was learned that most Albanian immigrants are most of the time forced to return to their home country. The professions of the returnees are different, but the lack of a profession predominates or common professions such as those related to agriculture, construction and related services work. These returnees need and require assistance to find a job (70.89%), financial assistance (15.19%) and assistance to get a visa in order to leave Albania (11.39%), according to data taken from a 2008 IOM study.

Data taken from TIMS (Total Information Management System) and using questionnaires, based on the returned emigrants structure at four Border Cross Points (BCPs) showed that many of the irregular migrants were found to be recidivists, crossing the borders irregularly more than once.

Eglantina Zyka, a native of southeastern Albania, lives and works in Tirana. She is a lecturer in Statistics at the University of Tirana, in the Faculty of Economy. She also teaches statistics to the students of political science at the Social Faculty in Tirana.

Her academic background is in finance (BA and economics (MA). For five years, Mrs. Zyka worked as a coordinator of social projects for the Red Cross in Albania. Migration is a relevant question in Albania and during her work at the university, she has participated in different workshops, conferences and summer schools, both in Albania and abroad, focusing on the real, on-the-ground situation.

The University of Tirana is regarded as the first university in Albania, having been created in 1957 during the communist period. Today it comprises eight faculties (Medicine, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, History and Philology, Law, Economic Sciences, Foreign Languages and Physical Education) and has over 14,000 students.

Balkanalysis.com is an American research and analysis firm that provides dedicated coverage of the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions, in areas ranging from politics and security to economics and culture. It draws on the expertise of its broad network of field analysts and reporters representing a number of various countries and professional backgrounds.

Balkanalysis Briefings is a regular series in which correspondents of Balkanalysis.com, sometimes in affiliation with partner organizations, engage with representatives of companies, governmental institutions, non-governmental groups and other organizations professionally involved with the Balkan and Mediterranean regions in order to gain insight into issues, trends and other factors affecting present and future developments in the area. This process contributes to better analytical and prognostic research, allowing Balkanalysis.com to better serve its readers, while also providing Briefings partners an opportunity to make their products, services and goals better and more clearly known among those most actively involved with the region.

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