Albanians enjoy wealth being sent back from the UK – but there’s a dark side
Wages are low and the cost of living is skyrocketing. People cannot find jobs or afford education or health care. The natural resources the country is rich in, such as copper and chrome, only benefit corrupt corporations and officials.
Meanwhile, the spoils of illegal migration and crime should be granted amnesty. Any Albanian citizen living in their country or abroad can deposit €2m (£1.7m) into the banking system, no questions asked, under plans being finalized by Tirana. They will be able to keep the money in exchange for a fee of up to 10%.
In a country facing problems such as money laundering and corruption, this does not deter illegal migration or illicit activities, Panariti said.
“Our people are under threat,” he told the Telegraph, calling on his government to tackle the issues of poverty and human trafficking.
“Young people are used by organized crime gangs. It is estimated that there are around 2,000 Albanians in prison in the UK, and there are 5,000 people in prison here. If things continue like this, then in three or four years there will be as many Albanians in prison in the UK as there are in Albania.
“We need to be able to give people hope to stay here, especially those in the north who live in extreme poverty. Our country is turning into a desert and we have to stop the tide.
“Better to take risks and have a life”
Asked by The Telegraph, the Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs did not respond to questions about corruption or plans for a tax amnesty.
But for thousands of people like Mr Cahani, whose lives have been transformed, it will take more than a promise of new jobs and infrastructure to persuade him that there is no better future in England.
His son, now 27, is allowed to stay through his French wife and Mr Cahani is preparing the paperwork to move to London to reunite with his family.
“People are so depressed here that they say it would be better if they could get to the UK,” he said.
“They know that they have two possibilities: that they are drowned in the sea or that they come out of it. They know the consequences, but they know there’s nothing here, so better take the risk and have a life.