Preparing to leave, step by step - Kosovo 2.0
In-depth | Migration

Preparing to leave, step by step

Kosovo citizens learn German as they prepare to leave their country.

By - 30.12.2019

Migration in Kosovo has sometimes been more common. At other times it has been less common. Sometimes it’s easier, other times harder. Sometimes it’s regular, at other times irregular. But usually it has benefited the country. Remittances are an important source of income for Kosovo’s economy, contributing around 16% of the GDP. 

The highest flux of migration in recent decades occurred in 2015, when 75,000 people left the country. Most of them went to European Union countries. According to a report published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs,  until 2016 the rate of migration had continuous growth. After that year it dropped.

Migration still happens today. After 2016, there was a drop in the number of asylum seekers and illegal citizens in the EU. It seems that the goal to migrate remains the same. But citizens of Kosovo — especially young people — are trying to legally migrate. They are applying for study, work and family reunion visas. Looking back at the massive waves of migration that occurred in 2015, these attempts seem more normalized. But their effects will be felt later. 

The migration process has led to the creation of a variety of services that help support potential migrants in Kosovo.

In 2019 150 doctors — mostly specialists — requested certificates confirming their ethical and professional backgrounds, according to the Kosovo Medical Chambers. This is one of the documents that is required when seeking employment in Germany or elsewhere.

Doctors aren’t the only ones applying for work visas. Mihane Shabani, 21, is learning German as she waits for the preparation of her employment contract in Germany. She will work as a nanny.

“I work but when I have free time, I pick up a book and study,” she says, adding that she feels very motivated to learn German and migrate to Germany. According to her, there is zero chance to live a normal life in Kosovo if you don’t have an acquaintance who can find you a job.

In one of the agencies that provide services for facilitating migration, these 20- year- olds received one year contracts to work as nannies for German families. After one year of work and language learning, many of them become independent and choose to study or to continue working. The goal of employing young people is fulfilled and there is a cultural exchange between Kosovo and Germany.

It’s not a coincidence that the professional agency that recruits job-seekers from Kosovo to Germany is called New Way. The Ferizaj -based agency says that they receive around 40 requests for long term contracts every month. Mostly from people between 20 and 30 years old.

In Podujevo there are five German language courses. They are mainly attended by young people and women.

As she waits in the corridor for one of the courses before the start of the lecture, a woman tells me that she hopes to go to Germany as soon as possible. “It is not easy but what can I do? We often ask the professor to repeat the same thing over and over, because we don’t understand. You write it differently, you read it differently. Foreign language, eh!”

One of the conditions to apply for a family reunion visa in Germany is learning the German language.

In search of a better life.