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Italy-Albania The migrant as a bridge between two homelands: The role of remittances

Çela, Eralba and Moretti, Eros and Ninka, Eniel (2008): Italy-Albania The migrant as a bridge between two homelands: The role of remittances. Published in: Romanian Journal of European Studies No. 7-8 (2009): pp. 39-58.

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After eighteen years of mass migration of the Albanian population, primarily to Greece and Italy, a question arises. May migrants become potential agents of socio-economic development in their country of origin? This paper focuses on the role and the importance of remittances and their use in Albania through a survey of 400 Albanian immigrants, legally residing in the Marche and Apulia regions in Italy, conducted in the period May - September 2007. Simultaneously, we carried out family surveys of 200 households that had at least one member working abroad. This survey was conducted in rural and urban areas of the Vlorë region in Albania. We build on the theory of “New Economics of Labour Migration” which considers remittances as the core of migrants’ strategy and a link between the socio-economic context in the country of origin and that in the host country. Our findings show that remittances are related, on the one hand, to the family links in the country of origin (but for relatively small amounts, usually decreasing in time). On the other hand, remittances are strongly related to investments in Albania. There emerges the image of a migrant “suspended between two shores”, who, independently from any future migratory project, would like to maintain links with both Albania and Italy, becoming a factor of Albania’s development thanks to their investments and human and social capital.

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