International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Ad campaign in Albania: German embassy warns against 'economic asylum'




Germany is a main target country for Albanian asylum seekers. Now, the German embassy in Tirana is warning potential refugees in Albanian newspapers of traffickers and profiteers. Der Tagesspiegel reports.

"Ne Gjermani nuk ka Azil ekonomik," is in capital letters on the ads that appeared in six large Albanian newspapers this week – "no economic asylum in Germany". The large-scale campaign is Germany's reaction to the growing flood of asylum seekers from Albania. In six papers, including the most widely read Shekulli and Shqip, the German embassy in Tirana is warning Albanians of "scrupulous profiteers" who "spread fairytales of asylum granted, employment and apartments in Germany out of greed for profit".

The campaign resembles one launched by Austria in February in Kosovar media. Sizeable waves of people are also fleeing from Kosovo and other Western Balkan countries to Europe. But by now, Albania has become the "main problem country" among German asylum authorities. The number of asylum applicants is growing rapidly. The acceptance quota is exceptionally low. Last year, the so-called protection rate was at 2.2% and so far this year it is only at 0.6%.

According to information from the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), nearly half of all Albanian asylum applicants in Europe submitted their application in Germany. The Federal Republic received 7,865 first-time applications from Albanians and 248 applications for renewal. In May of this year, Albania was the main country of origin among asylum applications. There were 4,743 first-time requests. As a comparison, there were 4,319 applications from Kosovars and 4,224 from Syrians. In security circles, reports indicate that bus companies from Kosovo have established themselves in northern Albania and offer cheap travel to Germany, often making false promises such as chances of immediate employment.

With a real per capita income of €280 per month, Albania is among the poorest countries of Europe. Its official unemployment rate is 18%. The country is also fighting significant corruption issues. As a result, temptations to obtain a residence permit for economic reasons in Germany or other European are high. More recently, well-educated members of the middle class have begun to leave the country as well.

Source: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/global-europe/ad-campaign-albania-german-embassy-warns-against-economic-asylum-315768





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