News archive - [Event Review] Regional Workshop “Migration and Remittances in the Western Balkans”

The workshop was held in Skopje on 29 August 2013, and provided a stage for the presentation of final results produced by the RRPP-funded research project Migration and Development in Albania and Macedonia: The Effects of Remittances on Education and Health of Family Members Left Behind which was implemented by Analytica and the Albanian Centre for Social-Economic Research (ACSER). It also initiated debate on research conducted in FYR of Macedonia and the Western Balkan region on migration and remittances.

Present at the workshop were researchers from a multitude of backgrounds: Academia; civil society organisations from fyr of Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina; the private sector; and representatives from the World Bank, the International Organization for Migration, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI).

Primary topics of concern were related to the positive and negative impacts of migration on, and remittances for, family members left behind in FYR of Macedonia and Albania. These impacts included a myriad of topics: Whether remittances in Macedonia affect poverty and inequality; negative long term effects of incoming remittances in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the impact of remittances for macroeconomic stabilisation and development in Macedonia; the role of emigration and remittances as adjustment mechanisms in labour markets, using FYR of Macedonia as an example; whether migration has any impact on women’s empowerment in traditionally patriarchal countries, similar to Albania, FYR  of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; and the use and prospects of remittances in FYR of Macedonia.

Research Results Summary

For FYR Macedonia and Albania, the project’s results on remittance’s impact on education demonstrate how a father’s absence negatively impacts a child’s education in the short-term, yet positively affects it in the long-term. Parallel to these results, both countries reveal that the migration of the mother negatively impacts a children’s education in the long-term, affirming the assumption that migration significantly impacts children’s education for those whose parent(s) have migrated abroad. Delving deeper into education, there is a significant difference between Albania and FYR Macedonia concerning the effects of remittances — they positively impact children’s education in such a way that they are now being allocated for it in Albania. In FYR Macedonia, however, remittances insignificantly impact children’s educational status, thus the lack of support in using remittances for education.

The project’s results compiled for remittances’ impact on health in Albania have shown that children in migrant families are less likely to experience stunted growth than those from families without migration experiences. While remittance impact was found to be generally positive in Albania, it was perceived negatively in FYR Macedonia — children from families with migration experiences are more obese. Both countries also revealed that a mother’s education is an important factor for the prevention of childhood obesity.

FYR Macedonia and Albania failed to create initiatives promoting the effects of migration and remittances on the socio-economic development of their countries since their state migration policies do not target specific areas of education and health — they tend to speak generally on a variety of topics. 

Parts of the policy brief’s recommendations are therefore reserved for governmental action. They must offer policies reducing the negative effects of parental migration on children, including the impact of migration and remittances in their education and health policies. Governmental organisations should also introduce policies in support of migrants that invest earned money into their home countries. Finally, governments will benefit by enabling easy access to education and health insurance. To assist in later research, Albania and Macedonia must improve their data collecting systems in order to create an effective sample of well-rounded information, establishing a database for analysing migration and remittance impacts in the future.
Republic of North Macedonia
Geographical focus
  • Albania
  • Republic of North Macedonia
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Desiree Pecarz on October 2, 2013
Modified on October 2, 2013