The currency in Albania is the lek. Albania has a range of natural resources, such as oil, gas, coal and copper. Under the years of communist rule, Albania had state-managed industries and agriculture. Once communist rule came to an end, the organized structure collapsed, resulting in great poverty and hardship for many people living in Albania. Farms that had been run collectively under communism became fragmented, with landowners reclaiming land that had been theirs many years before.
Despite recent investment from abroad, Albania remains one of the poorest countries in Europe, and unemployment stands at 16%. Agriculture is the biggest sector of the Albanian economy, employing around 58% of the workforce. Key crops include tobacco, corn and wheat. Tourism currently makes just a small contribution to Albania’s GDP, but is a growing sector. Further investment is required to expand on existing facilities and attractions for tourists. For example, there are opportunities for both downhill and cross country skiing in Albania, but resorts are not yet well developed.
In 2014, Albania applied to join the EU, but at present the country is not able to meet the criteria stipulated for entry into the EU. Major legal and economic reforms are needed, and the country’s deep-seated corruption needs to be addressed if Albania is to achieve advancement.
Foreign nationals who wish to work in Albania need to obtain a work permit. These are issued by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and can be applied for via the Albanian embassy in your home country. You may be able to commence work in Albania during the application process. In order to live in Albania, you will also require a residence permit, which you will need to obtain from the police department in Albania.
Expatriates looking for work in Albania can search for job vacancies on online recruitment sites or by applying directly to international corporations that have a presence in the country. Career opportunities for expats have been limited but are gradually increasing. English is not widely spoken so it is worth learning Albanian if you are planning to move to Albania.
If you have a qualification to teach English as a foreign language, you are likely to be able to find work in Albania. Salaries are generally low for teaching, but the cost of living is also low compared with many parts of Europe. Higher salaries are usually offered for expats working on foreign investment projects or for international accountancy and consulting firms, such as KPMG. There are openings for expatriate engineers to work in Albania, for example on projects such as improvements to rail infrastructure. Engineers with experience in the oil and gas industries are also recruited to work in Albania. Specialist sites, such as Rigzone, have listings for positions in the oil and gas industries.