Albanians wink at mixed marriages - when tolerance pays

Jeton Musliu

Kosovo Albanians are socially conservative and rarely marry outside the community.

Yet, many seem ready to tolerate their sons or even husbands contracting temporary de facto bigamous marriages with foreign women if the reward at the end of it is a work permit in Germany or other EU state.

The main question in this story is WHY? Why is it that married Albanian men effectively trade in their original wives for a certain period, only to return to these first wives much later on? Equally importantly, why do these men’s first wives, and families, tolerate this?

By interviewing both perpetrators and victims of this system, the story explains the motives of all concerned.

The author is establishing that the main motive is in fact a pragmatic economic one: a conservative society is prepared to tolerate a profound violation of its traditional norms for sound financial reasons - and because these alliances are temporary. (In the end, the husband goes “home”).

Article style: Feature

Fellow Bio


Jeton Musliu

Jeton Musliu a journalist based in Pristina, currently works on the domestic news desk for the daily Kosovan newspaper Express. He has published numerous investigative articles on topics ranging from corruption, justice, security and terrorism.

Fellowship Article

Kosovar Albanians are increasingly tolerant of men who divorce local wives in order to temporarily marry foreigners and obtain resident status in the West.


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