Yesterday 12 February 2020 with 89 votes in favor, 14 against and 1 abstention, the amendments to the law on foreigners were approved, which provides for simplified procedures for the issue of entry visas to Albania.
The topic discussed in the parliamentary session sparked heated debates between the new opposition and the majority. According to the socialists, these changes will have a direct effect on the increase in the number of foreigners who see Albania as a job opportunity, arguing that it is very important at a time when there is a shortage of skilled workers also in view of the post earthquake reconstruction.
However, the new opposition MP Ralf Gjoni strongly opposed the changes. In his classroom speech, Gjoni said that it is a lie, that the changes are related to the earthquake, having been put into public consultation two months before, or on September 19, 2019. Furthermore, Gjoni stressed that the stakeholders and civil society, adding that the changes will lead to an increase in immigrants arriving from third countries.
Ralf Gjoni: You are telling Albanians to go away to replace them with immigrants from the third world
“Why are you lying so blatantly? This bill has nothing to do with the earthquake. You published this law for public online consultation for 20 days on September 19, 2019. So two months before the November earthquake. Furthermore, you have not consulted any of the organizations involved or civil society. Why is there no in-depth study on the needs of the labor market? It is clear that this government is helping Albania's depopulation of Albania, "Gjoni told parliament.
Taulant Balla's reply
In response to Gjoni, the president of the parliamentary group of the Socialist Party Taulant Balla and the deputy Ulsi Manja said that the changes simply removed the bureaucratic procedures, which do not affect the verifications by the intelligence services or other structures.
“Maybe you consulted the wrong law because it has nothing to do with your discussion. Tell me in which paragraph has the visa procedure changed? In no time. For those who don't know, there is a procedure that goes through intelligence services. We simply avoided extensions that we considered unsuitable: all that coming and going will no longer be necessary; go to the consulate, the interview, and then show up in two weeks to get a visa. All are verified online and therefore we will evaluate if any of them represent a risk to the security of the country, or destined to end up as an illegal immigrant.
What are the changes in the law?
According to the government, the law aims to provide facilities for foreigners who want to come to Albania for work and / or tourism. One of the services provided by law is the application of the electronic visa, which according to the speakers will influence the facilitation of procedures for foreigners who want to come to Albania, in the states where our country does not have diplomatic offices. Furthermore, to deal with the situation in our country, where following the earthquake that caused serious damage to the homes of two of the country's most populous municipalities, it is proposed to employ foreign citizens in various sectors, in order to remedy the lack of hand. work needed for reconstruction. In this context, foreigners who enter the country will be exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit and a certificate of employment registration.
According to the data of the National Statistical Institute (Instat) of 2019, 14.162 foreign citizens with residence permits lived and work in Albania (details)