On 24 June 2021, the Albanian Parliament adopted the Law no. 79/2021 on “Foreigners” (the “Law”). The Law was published in the official gazette no.162, dated 18 October 2021 and shall enter into force on 02 November 2021.
The Law, which partially approximated with EU acquis, governs the regime of entry, stay, employment and exit of the foreigners in/from the Republic of Albania. It determines the functions and competences of state authorities as well as of other public and private entities in relation to entry, stay, working and exit of foreigners in/from the Republic of Albania. In addition, it introduces new definitions, concepts, obligations to be fulfilled by foreigners or employers hiring foreign employees, types of residence permits and respective procedures to be followed to obtain such permits.
This is a new type of permit introduced by the Law, that shall comprise both the residence permit and work permit which previously were issued as two separate documents. It shall allow foreigners to reside legally in Albania for working purposes. That means that one application procedure, shall be followed either by the employer or foreign employee, to obtain the Single Permit. The Law provides an exhausted list of working purposes for which the foreigners shall be eligible to the Single Permit. As a general rule the Single Permit is issued by the Immigration Authorities upon receipt of a prior approval from the National Employment Agency. Under the Law the foreigner is obliged to notify authorities in case of changes of the terms which the permit is been issued for.
New categories of foreigners eligible to reside in Albania and obtain residence permits are introduced by the Law such as:
- Single permit for digital workers
According to the Law, digital worker is considered a foreigner who works in different places, not in an office or head office of the entity and whose work is movable and the IT equipment are main working equipment.
- Residence permit for “au pairs”
The Law, in compliance with the EU Directive 2016/801, defines as “au pair” a foreigner who is admitted to Albania to be temporarily received by a family, in order to improve his linguistic skills and knowledge of Albania in exchange for light housework and taking care of children.
- Residence permit for use of immovable property
Such type of residence permit is issued to a foreigner for purposes of use and disposal of an immovable property located in Albania. The main condition to be met by a foreigner for obtaining this permit is providing evidence of owning at least ½ of the immovable property located in Albania throughout the validity of residence permit.
- Residence permit for retiree
This new type of permit introduced by the Law, enables to the foreigner who are retired in their country to apply and stay in Albania.
New term for residence permit issued to EU, US and Kosovo citizens
According to the Law, the first residence permit issued to citizens of EU members states, USA and Kosovo shall be for five years.
Transitory provisions for current work and residence permits
Unless otherwise provided by the Law, residence permits issued to foreigners, pursuant to the provisions of the legislation in force, before the date of entry into force of this Law, are valid until the end of their expiration date, as long as they are revoked by the responsible state authorities or become invalid, pursuant to the provisions of the Law and sub-legal acts applicable to it.
Work permits, issued to employees or self-employed, or exemptions from the obligation to obtain a work permit, pursuant to the provisions of applicable law, before the date of entry into force of the Law and sub-legal acts applicable to it, are valid until the their expiration date, as long as they are not revoked by the responsible state authorities or become invalid, pursuant to the provisions of the Law.
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KPMG in Bulgaria
Manager, Legal Advisory Services
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