The Albanian community in Italy: characteristics and challenges between immigration and integration. The case of Lombardy and highly skilled workers




albanian diaspora, Italy, socio-economic integration


In 2021, Albanians were the second-largest nationality of first-generation migrants to Italy. This research provides a snapshot of Albanians in Italy who are working in sectors with the potential for future benefit to Albania. It examines the socio-economic characteristics, expectations, and plans of Albanians in Italy (employed in the agri-business, cultural preservation and heritage, and social enterprise sectors, as well as a residual category that includes other sectors). The Italian region with the highest number of Albanian immigrants is Lombardy, the territorial focus of this research, which comprised an in-depth questionnaire administered to 134 respondents. Key outcomes show that skilled Albanians are highly integrated into local society: most respondents have acquired Italian citizenship, 70% are in full-time work, and overall their income is higher than the national average. Their relationship with Italy is not always smooth, with many haunted by memories of difficulties in the early days following their arrival, and continued stigmatization. Despite this, most see their future in Italy while experiencing a complicated relationship with Albania, a place to return for short visits – but perhaps never to settle in again.






Research Papers