Albania: Youth migration: Reaping the benefits and mitigating the risks


Over the past two decades, Albania has experienced one of the highest emigration rates of any country in the world. Absence of decent work opportunities and the uncertainty of a better future are the main motivational factors, particularly for Albanian youth, to migrate internally and abroad.

The aim of the Joint Programme was to improve job prospects for Albanian youth and address the challenges of migration by integrating employment and social policy objectives into long-term national development goals. The Programme also targeted under-employed youth and young people working informally in subsistence agriculture in the regions of Shkodra and Kukes.

The programme's approach was to:

  1. Strengthen the capacity of labour market institutions to integrate and put into practice Albania's national policy priorities through a coherent youth employment action plan;
  2. Devise strategies that minimize the risks of migration of youth from rural areas; and
  3. Increase the positive impact of migration through better allocation of resources for youth employment.

Main achievements included:

  • The National Action Plan for Youth was prepared and launched with extensive technical and advisory support from the Joint Programme. This included the review of key labour market indicators, policies and institutions for youth employment; the identification of key problems for policy prioritization; the development of a framework to ensure comprehensive and coherent approach to youth employment policy development; the design of objectives, targets and outcomes as well as the respective responsibilities of lead institutions; and the setting of costs, timeframe, coordination mechanism and monitoring and evaluation arrangements.
  • A working group on the Labour Force Survey was established, which has improved the capacity of government ministries to analyze labour market information.
  • To support Albanian labour market institutions in transitioning youth from informal to formal employment within the agriculture value chain, the YEM programme worked with more than 40 partners in the Kukes Region to prepare and launch a Territorial Employment Pact for Youth. This helped to increase agricultural growth by 2% in the Kukes region and benefitted over 900 youth. The initiative consisted of: i) entrepreneurship and business advisory services, with a particular focus on women; ii) skills training grants; iii) access to credit opportunities; iv) subsidised employment; v) organisation building; and vi) regulatory environment.  
  • An information campaign on the risks of irregular migration was successfully carried out. Internet and social networks were used to identify and link with the Albanian diaspora in order to stimulate investments in the country and encourage the return of qualified Albanians.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Albania.


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 06 Nov 2008 - 31 Dec 2012
Net funded amount $3,269,351
Participating UN agencies ILO, IOM, UNDP, UNICEF
National partners Ministry of Labour Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; National Employment Service and its local branches; Ministry of Education and Science; Albanian Investment Development Agency; Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; Employers’ (Business Albania) and business organizations, chambers of commerce (the Albanian British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, local chambers at regional level), and their members (enterprises); INSTAT; Public Vocational Education Training Centres; Multi-stakeholder Regional Coordination Mechanisms in Kukes and Shkodra; Trade Unions (particularly BSPSH and KSSH); Youth organizations, particularly the Albanian Youth Council and Asan; CSOs active in the target regions (such as ACLI and Don Bosco Institute); Producers’ associations and specialised agencies in agro-business
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