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Migrant workers coming home liven up Tetovo’s economy

Migrant workers--predominantly ethnic Albanians--coming back from European countries to Tetovo for the summer liven up the city’s economy.

Tetovo, 20 June 2019 (MIA) Migrant workers–predominantly ethnic Albanians–coming back from European countries to Tetovo for the summer liven up the city’s economy.

Migrants who work in the Scandinavian countries usually come on vacation in June, while those from Germany and Switzerland often return in July. As a result of the Italian workers’ collective vacation policy, people working there usually return in August.

Farmer’s market vendors say July and August are the busiest months for them, as the city overflows with migrants who return from working abroad. They hope that as the number of potential customers increases, their profits will also increase.

Sales rise when the migrants return. Thank God they come and help boost the economy. I’m very pleased,” Abdula Ramadani, a farmer’s market vendor, told MIA.

They all shop in bulk, buying everything they need for the duration of their stay,” Pece Stojchevski added from the next stall.

The returning workers spend a lot of money on weddings and family gatherings. Photographers, boutiques, restaurants, beauty parlors, and furniture shops profit the most.

On average, there are two or three weddings a day between July 10 and Aug. 20. All reception halls have been booked solid since last year. Those planning to get married next summer are making the arrangements now.

We’re talking about a lot of money because a wedding can cost from EUR 15,000 to 50,000.  The music for an Albanian wedding can cost from EUR 2,000 to 7,000. Venues charge between EUR 12 and 25 per guest,” one business owner said. 

Celebratory gunfire is one of the downsides of the wedding season.

Last summer, about a dozen celebratory gunfire cases had been reported to the Tetovo police. However, despite the many warnings issued by the authorities, this practice still prevails.

“We constantly warn citizens to refrain from celebratory gunfire. This practice puts in danger not only them but also their guests and other citizens, because it may result in random death and injury from stray bullets,” Marjan Josifovski, a representative from the Tetovo police department, told MIA.

Migrant workers usually return to Tetovo by car, which increases the amount of traffic in the city, by a rumored 5,000 vehicles. As a result of the lack of parking space during the summer, schoolyards have been transformed into makeshift parking lots in the past few years.

Despite Tetovo’s infrastructure issues, migrant workers come home every summer. There they face insufficient drinking water, parking space, and they contribute to creating additional waste.

“Migrant workers come back to see their friends and family. Talking to them is what they miss the most. Coming here improves their social lives because they meet with a lot of people, extended family members, friends, and acquaintances.

During their stay, they attend weddings and family gatherings, as well as sports and cultural events. They don’t come to see the infrastructure, but to meet with their relatives, visit their home villages, go to Popova Shapka, etc.,” psychologist Ljuljzim Muharemi said.

For the past few years, the city has also hosted the Tetovo’s Cultural Summer festival. It takes place in July and August, giving returning migrant workers a chance to attend many cultural events.

Aleksandar Samardzhiev

Tr. by Monika Mihajlovska 

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