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Integration a few kilometres away from the motherland: Albanians' internal migration, settlement and voluntary return in Epirus and the Ionian Islands in Greece

Stelios Gialis


This paper focuses on the interconnection between internal migration in Greece, integration and voluntary return prospects of Albanians currently living in Epirus and the Ionian Islands. It is based on field research conducted during 2008 among immigrants who live in Ioannina, Preveza, Arta and Kerkyra. The study highlights the different types of internal trajectories that migrants had follow before settling in the neighbouring areas of Greece, just a few kilometres away from their homeland. Migrant's current economic integration and some of the socio-economic barriers they face are discussed and linked to their will to return permanently to Albania. Internal mobility is found to be a preceding step in search for integration; integration, in turn, acts as a counterbalance to both further internal movement and voluntary return prospects, at least for the next foreseeable years.


Albanian migration; internal migration; integration; return; Epirus; the Ionian Islands; Greece

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