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Albanian Migration in Greece: Understanding Irregularity in a Time of Crisis

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The third decade of Albanian migration to Greece signalled a historical change in the human geography of Greece’s largest migrant group. The impact of the economic recession and the visa-free regime for Albanians entering the European Union shaped a new fluid reality for Albanian irregular migration. This paper explores the impact of the socio-economic transformation processes on the migrants’ legal status vis-à-vis irregular status and integration dynamics. The emerging mobility strategies are conceptualized as a migrants’ agency that overcome socio-economic barriers or policy restrictions and navigate them. This paper goes beyond the legality-irregularity dichotomy, suggesting it is the multidimensional ‘in-between’ space of semi-irregular status where apparently ‘irregular’ Albanians interact with various forms of agency. Our aim is to explore how the irregular/legal nexus developed within the Balkan in the specific context of Greece. The empirical analysis draws on in-depth interviews with 94 Albanians and 13 stakeholders in Greece and Albania.

Affiliations: 1: The European University of Tirana Njësia Bashkiake 7, 1023 TiranaAlbania


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