Emigration from Kosovo into western European countries has been a large-scale phenomenon in recent years. The money sent back to Kosovo by migrants working abroad is currently an important element of the country’s economy, but a recent study has found that the return of migrants to Kosovo could prove even more beneficial. Ardiana Gashi and Nick Adnett suggest that government policies should encourage the retention of strong ties between the migrants and Kosovo, allow for the speedy accreditation of qualifications obtained abroad, and facilitate the flow of migrants’ savings into the Kosovan economy.
Large scale emigration has been a key feature of the Kosovan economy in recent decades and remittances (money sent back to Kosovo by migrants working abroad) account for between 10 and 15 percent of the country’s GDP. There is no registration of Kosovo migrants so estimations vary from 400,000 (estimated through 2011 Population Census) to 874,000 (estimated by the 2014 Kosovo Human Development Report based on emigration between 1981 and 2011). Aside from remittances, another largely neglected but potentially important additional contributor to the country’s economic development is return migration. Determinants of such return migration have been relatively under-researched, largely due to a lack of appropriate data.