Moving to Albania
Expats moving to Albania will find a country full of natural beauty but still wrestling its Soviet past. While there have been positive signs of growth, Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.
Although it is not necessarily a popular expat destination, those who do decide to relocate to Albania speak positively of the gorgeous beaches, sunny weather and low cost of living. Albania is a relatively safe country, though petty crime such as pick-pocketing occurs in major cities. Driving in Albania can be harrowing, and road accident rates are high compared to other European countries.
The Albanian government has been working hard to rehabilitate the country's economy and global image. Currently campaigning for EU membership, Albania is already a member of prominent international organisations such as the UN and NATO.
More foreign businesses have migrated to Albania in recent years, and this has created some employment opportunities, especially in the areas of energy, textiles and transport infrastructure. The tourism industry is also rapidly expanding and has become one of the country's main sources of income. Nevertheless, agriculture remains the most significant sector, accounting for one-fifth Albania's GDP and employing nearly half of its labour force. Chief agricultural products include wheat, olives and olive oil, fruit and various other produce.
Albania is largely homogeneous with most of the population being ethnic Albanian, and the official language being Albanian. The majority of the country’s nearly 3 million people are Muslim. Expats moving to Albania should make a concerted effort to learn Albanian in order to converse with the local population, as most locals are unlikely to speak English.
Although efforts have been made to improve healthcare in Albania, the sector remains poor and underfunded. The state of education in Albania is gradually improving but it is still hampered by Soviet-era mismanagement. As the local curriculum is taught in Albanian, expats moving to the country largely choose to send their children to international schools and most international schools are found in the capital, Tirana.