A political deal is giving new hope to thousands of people who remain officially invisible because – even though some were born in the country – they cannot get citizenship documents.
They were born or have lived in the country for years but have never managed to regulate their legal status and obtain citizenship or an ID.
Without these, they lack a slew of basic civil rights that they would otherwise be entitled to in North Macedonia.
Altin Bajrami, 31, an ethnic Albanian farmer from the northern town of Kumanovo, is one of them.
“I was born right here where I live but I have no citizenship and, without it, life is not easy. When I need to go to a doctor, for example, I can’t. I don’t know where to turn for help,” Bajrami said.
Thanks to his “invisibility” in the eyes of the state, Bajrami said he had never had a proper job, managing only to get an occasional temporary jobs on the black market.