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Worrying figure, over 30% of workers will emigrate during 2024
Written by SOT.COM.AL 15 Nëntor 2023
The labor force seems to leave Kosovo during the year 2024. Even the figures presented are quite telling, since it is said that about 33% of the workers will emigrate to different countries of the world. The departure from the country is foreseen immediately after the liberalization of visas, on January 1.
About a thousand businesses surveyed by the Riinvest Institute in Kosovo, have reported that 17.59 percent of their employees have announced that they will emigrate during the next year.
This was announced by the executive director of this institute, Alban Hashani, who said that Kosovo leads in comparison to the countries of the region in terms of emigration.
He has shown that the largest number of citizens who leave the country work in construction.
"The construction sector in Kosovo is the most affected in terms of the departure of workers. Estimates are that 32.72 percent of workers will emigrate during the next year. To curb this trend, 79 percent of businesses have increased their wages, and the wage increase was 22.23 percent. Over a third of businesses report that they will continue to increase wages, while 24.5 percent of them plan to improve working conditions."
Hashani said that their recommendation is to revise existing economic policies and budget policies in favor of capital investments.
"For the first two or three months of this year, economic growth has slowed down, while expectations are that there will not be any substantial change for the coming months and next year. We have had excessive reliance on external factors and neglect of policies to strengthen the local competitive offer in the domestic and export markets. While, even though the budget has increased year after year, the unfavorable structure of the budget remains problematic. The budget is at the expense of capital investments".
Hashani said that businesses are also not satisfied with the efforts of the institutions in order to improve the residential environment.
"Besides the problems related to migration, there are also a number of other barriers such as: Market size, administrative burdens and obstacles, energy supply and debt collection. Then employment in relation to the total population did not show any great growth. Unemployment among young people and women remains problematic. Also unemployment in long time levels is worrying. But there are businesses that are facing a lack of workers".
The Annual Economic Forum was held in Pristina today, which focuses on building a new model for economic growth, labor market dynamics, and current and future challenges in this field.
On this occasion, Elene Imnadze, senior operations officer at the World Bank, has informed that Kosovo has progressed in terms of economic development since the declaration of independence.
However, she also stated that the country continues to face several challenges such as: Migration of citizens; lack of workers; and the low number of active women in the labor market.
On the 1st of this month, citizens of Kosovo will be able to move freely in dozens of European countries.
Visa liberalization allows visa-free travel for just up to 90 days – within six months – to any of the 27 member states of what is known as the Schengen area.
However, such trips should only serve for tourist visits or family matters, and do not imply a work permit or other benefits.
In recent years, thousands of Kosovo citizens have received work visas for EU countries, especially Germany.
Last year alone, the number of work visas issued by the German Embassy in Pristina increased by 110 percent, compared to the previous year.
Kosovo, currently, is the only country in the Western Balkans whose citizens cannot move freely in the Schengen area.
Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia have enjoyed this right since December 2009, while for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina this has been possible since the end of 2010.
The European Commission, as early as 2018, has confirmed several times that Kosovo has met all the conditions for visa liberalization, but there have been several member countries that have constantly expressed reservations.
The final decision on liberalization was taken this year, namely in April, when it was published in the Official Gazette of the EU.
The data of the EU Agency for Asylum show that only during the year 2022, over 3,000 citizens of Kosovo have applied for asylum in a country of this bloc and that this right has been recognized for 8 percent of them.
The Statistics Agency of Kosovo does not yet have data for 2022 and for this year, but those for 2021 show that over 42,000 residents have left Kosovo, for various reasons - including employment. According to KAS, most of them were legal. Monitor