IBNA Special Report/Emigration from Kosovo has started in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. In the ‘90s, a large number of Kosovars abandoned the country as a result of the repression and the violence used by the Serb power at that time, while in the past 10 years, the aggravated economic crisis is the main factor that obliges them to seek a better life in the West
Pristina, April 28, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Elton Tota
The aggravated economic situation is forcing Kosovars to abandon their country in search of a better place to live in European countries. This phenomenon has been seen for many years, but it has become even stronger in the past few years. Greater than the possibility to leave the country is the desire of young people to emigrate in search of a better life.
Emigration from Serb aggression and economic poverty
Emigration toward the west is seen as a potential danger for the long term and permanent abandonment of the country. Many cases show that those who leave Kosovo start a better life in different European countries or the US and do not come back to Kosovo. The reasons that they don’t come back are different, but they all have a common fact: There’s no motivation to return. For as long as the standards are not anywhere near developed countries, it’s normal for logic to come before patriotism.
I.Mehmeti from Pristina says for IBNA that after the ‘90s, he was forced to leave Kosovo and move to the town of Santgalen in Switzerland, as a result of the Serb aggression led by dictator Slobodan Milosevic.
“What pushed me to leave was the regime of that time which impoverished us by leaving us without a job. But this was not the only reason, because at that period, all schools and institutions in the Albanian language were closed”, recalls Mehmeti.
Mehmeti says that he doesn’t intend on returning to his fatherland. “Now, my family has been integrated and has been used to living in Switzerland, a country which he says, has offered him many good things.
A citizen from Pec, A. Hoti says that he has left Kosovo along with his family in 2000. Speaking for IBNA, he says that the reason for leaving was the difficult economic situation.
“I left Kosovo illegally and for many years, I had many problems and challenges. Amid these many difficulties, I’ve managed to get my residence papers in France”.
Hoti says that he sought asylum in France: “As soon as I arrived in France, I sought asylum and later, I managed to find a job. I later got my papers and now I have the asylum seeker status”.
Hoti has an advice for those Kosovars who want to try the same thing today: “Fortunately, at that time they used to accept asylum seekers from the Balkan countries, while today, I suggest to Kosovars not to try such thing, because with the new laws in power, such status cannot be granted in any of the EU countries”.
Many Kosovars have seen Hoti’s fate. The latest figures show that 700 thousand Kosovars live abroad.
Agency of Statistics of Kosovo (ASK) for the first time issued the Report “Kosovar Migration”, which offers data on migration.
The report offers data extracted from the 2011 registration of the population and other sources for international and national migration.
Data on international migration in this report mainly belong to the migration period from 1969 until April 2011.
Residential population of Kosovo, the emigrating one and the one with Kosovar origins is 2,483,999. The population resident in Kosovo is 1,780,021, emigrating population outside Kosovo is 550,000, the population of Kosovar origins (born outside of Kosovo) is 153,978. Thus the number of the Kosovar population which has emigrated and that with Kosovar origins is 703,978. The country where Kosovars have emigrated the most is Germany with 35.25%, followed by Switzerland with 22.94%.
The head of ASK, Isa Krasniqi says that the Report on Migration contains the demographic aspect and the social economic aspect of migration. Therefore, for researchers, institutions and different organizations, data on international migration offer an important source to evaluate the trends of migration in the reproduction, gender and age aspect.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Diaspora doesn’t yet have data on the accurate number of the citizens of Kosovo who are abroad.
The head of the department for public communication at the Ministry of Diaspora, Lorik Pustani says that as of January this year, a process of the registration of the citizens of Kosovo living abroad has started. He says that the participation in the census is high.
“So far, the process is going well. We have a massive participation from the Diaspora, who are being registered. The preliminary figures will be issued at the end of the year. So far, we cannot offer an exact figure as to how many citizens of Kosovo live in western countries, but this will be made public as soon as we have the necessary information”, says Pustina.
Reasons for migration
The motive for emigration is the economic situation in the Kosovar families and this can be deteriorated if economic growth and the creation of new jobs are not improved in a substantial way.
These are the opinions of different non government organizations in Kosovo. The head of the International Forum for Human Rights Office, Idriz Sinani told IBNA that there must be adequate measures in order to prevent the emigration of the citizens of Kosovo.
“Some of the main problems that population of Kosovo faces is unemployment and poverty. In conditions of a high unemployment, the people, young people have a tendency to leave the country in order to seek employment there and then to help the family or emigrate as a family”, says Sinani.
The Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Pristina says that: “The stagnation of the economic and social situation is a key factor which has an impact on the number of people who try to go to other countries.” The Council says that in many cases, Kosovars face life dangers, “like it happened in the recent case in the border between Hungary and Serbia”.
According to this organization, Kosovo has many problems that have accumulated. Experts of the Council say that all these problems are due to a bad management. There’s a very low optimism that these problems are going to be solved soon.
On the other hand, institutions of Kosovo have constantly talked about an improvement of living conditions. They say that they will create the necessary infrastructure for the citizens of Kosovo in order for them not to emigrate in the different western countries in search of a good life.
The government and politics in general have promised that they will create better conditions in order for emigration to be a thing of the past. But so far, there are no results in this direction. /ibna/