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Libya — Closely Knit: An Assessment Of Migrants’ Social Networks In Libya (January 2021)

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54% of migrants reported having friends in Libya prior to migrating

The findings of this survey highlight that migrants are influenced by interlinkages and kinship networks throughout the process of migrating to Libya. Overall, a quarter of migrants reported having family (24%) in Libya while more than half reported having friends in the country (54%) and a third reported having acquaintances (33%) prior to migrating. Data shows that migrants rely on social networks for an array of services, including insider knowledge on the experience of migrating to Libya, assistance with finding housing and employment as well as risk sharing, through financial support, amongst other things. Furthermore, support from social networks is also a vital coping strategy for unemployed migrants.

59% of migrants who had family members in Libya reported having based their decision to migrate to Libya fully on their family members

Family and friends in their country of origin, appear to weigh in more heavily in migrants’ decision-making compared to family or friends abroad. Overall, family appears to most often be the main factor on which migrants based their decision to migrate to Libya over friends and acquaintances. Business promoters, community leaders, facilitators and religious leaders appeared to play a much less important role in the choice of destination.

The context of departure and arrival as well as migrants’ motives for migration appear to influence the types of social networks they rely in Libya, which in turn impact their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. Fewer individuals who reported fleeing violence or conflict reported having friends in Libya than those motivated primarily by economic reasons. Migrants who intend to remain in Libya reported having developed and used to a greater extent their connections with Libyans to find employment than migrants who intend to stay only for a limited period.

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