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Greece opens border to almost 10,000 Albanians due to seasonal workers shortage

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Greece and Albania have signed an agreement paving the way for thousands of Albanian citizens to work in Greece’s agriculture sector, despite the coronavirus restrictions.

The two countries had shut their borders in March to prevent the virus from spreading.

But this new agreement, approved on Friday, will allow up to 10,000 Albanians to move into Greece without visas, starting mid-May.

“For the first time, the whole process of obtaining the necessary documentation will be free of charge and immigrants will not have to be provided with a work visa, thus saving time and payments for consular actions,” a statement from Albania’s Socialist Party reads.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis (left), and Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama (right), have reached an agreement on seasonal workers. Source: Independent Balkan News Agency.

“The terms of the agreement have also provided for measures to comply with the security protocols around COVID-19 protections.”

The move follows concerns expressed by Greek farmers who claim that a lack of land workers will threaten this year’s food production in Greece.

Greek farmers typically need 50,000 fruit and vegetable pickers in May. Usually those hands come from neighboring Albania and fellow EU members, Bulgaria and Romania.

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