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Albanian seasonal work migration to Greece: a case of last resort?

posted on 2023-06-07, 17:16 authored by Julie Vullnetari
Since the collapse of the communist regime in 1990, Albania has witnessed large-scale emigration, particularly to neighbouring Greece and Italy, but also further afield to the UK and the USA. By 2010 it was estimated that more than 1.4 million Albanian emigrants lived abroad, comprising nearly 45 percent of the resident population of Albania of 3.2 million. Given its geographical and cultural proximity, Greece was one of the first and most important destinations for these migrants. During most of the 1990s these movements were largely irregular and short-term in character. The first regularisation in Greece in 1998 signalled the beginning of a stabilisation period for the migrant community there, as well as more diverse flows towards it from Albania. One of these flows is composed of seasonal labour migrants generally working in the agricultural sector the focus of my analysis in this paper. In a nutshell, the aim of this paper is three-fold. First, to present a picture of seasonal migration from rural Albania to Greece through the words and perspectives of migrants and their families. Second, to discuss the impact of this migration on migrants and their families to what extent does this form of mobility perpetuate dependence on seasonal remittances, or provide a lifeline and skills to build sustainable livelihoods back home. And finally, to consider the impact on a local scale in origin areas, especially on rural landscapes and economies. Issues of mobility, border controls and Albanian-Greek relations will be explored as part of these three overarching streams.


Publication status

  • Published



Book title

Migration in the Southern Balkans: From Ottoman Territory to Globalized Nation States

Place of publication

New York



Department affiliated with

  • Geography Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


H Vermeulen, M Baldwin-Edwards, R Van Beschoeten

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