A recent study by SchengenVisaInfo.com reveals that 62.3 per cent of respondents, who are mainly between the ages of 25 to 34, said they aren’t considering moving to the EU, compared to 37.7 per cent that revealed their plans to one day leave Kosovo.
Survey findings show that the desire to move to the EU is very strong among those who hadn’t visited the bloc before, while all of the respondents who have visited the EU claimed they don’t consider moving there anytime soon.
In detail, 50.9 per cent of respondents have travelling experience to the EU, while for the remaining, it would be the first time.
Among the respondents that have confirmed their moving to the EU, the majority have monthly incomes between €500 and €1,000, with 15 per cent of all respondents making much money in a month. In addition, the share of respondents that plan to leave Kosovo after visa liberalisation and that generate less than €300 per month, as well as those that make between €300 and €500 in a month, is 18.4 per cent, indicating that the lower the monthly income is, the higher the number of people that want to leave is.
This claim is further supported as only 2.6 per cent of all respondents have plans to travel to the EU and make around €1,000 in a month, which is considered above the average wage in Kosovo.
The majority of respondents were women (61.4 per cent), and their occupation status was mainly employed, as 88.5 per cent claimed, while 59.6 per cent of respondents had a tertiary level of education or higher.
Furthermore, the most common profession is IT, Technology, and Communication Media, with 46.5 per cent of the respondents having such a profession.
Asked about which reasons are the most important reasons for not leaving Kosovo, 57 per cent of respondents named their families, followed by friends (27.2 per cent), and another 17.5 per cent named patriotism motives.
As per those that plan to leave the country, the main drive for such claims is related to employment (74.5 per cent) and tourism (53.2 per cent). Germany, Switzerland, and France are the top destinations for respondents, with 55.3 per cent of respondents revealing they have intentions to move there within one year of visa liberalisation (76.6 per cent) and within the next five years (10.6 per cent), while another 12.8 per cent still don’t have an answer.
As per the labour market, 95.7 per cent of respondents believe that visa liberalisation will impact Kosovo’s workforce, and another 74.5 per cent of respondents claim that visa liberalisation is positive for Kosovars.
Asked if they would be willing to leave their current job if they were offered a better employment opportunity in the EU, 78.7 per cent said they would, while 21.3 per cent said they would refuse.
However, the main reason why Kosovars would move to the EU boils down to one thing; better life quality, with 78.7 per cent of respondents confirming that. Higher salaries (68.1 per cent), more working opportunities (55.3 per cent), and the rule of law (51.1 per cent) are the main reasons for Kosovars to leave their home country for the EU.
In a recent article by SchengenVisaInfo.com, experts on the matter, as well as business owners, have called on Kosovo’s government to act now and improve the working conditions for employees as they can risk losing workforce after visa liberalisation that is set to begin in January 2024.
“The shrinking workforce will increase the difficulties of operating Kosovar businesses, and the need for alternative options for the workforce will rise. However, I would like to express optimism that this will not happen and that visa liberalisation will be an opportunity for citizens to move within the Schengen area accordingly to the criteria that define this right,” Arian Zeka, the Executive Director at the American Chamber in Kosovo, said for SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Schengen Statistics reveal that Kosovo is listed among the top 20 countries in the world to file the most Schengen visa applications in 2022. More specifically, 121,972 Kosovar visa applicants were recorded last year, ranking Kosovo 18th, while in 2021, it was ranked 16th, with a total of 44,666 visa applications filed.