DTM Libya identified a total of 610,128 migrants from over 44 nationalities in the 100 Libyan municipalities during Round 38 of data collection (July – September 2021).
The number of migrants has continued to increase during the reporting period, continuing a trend which started in January 2021. However, the number of migrants in Libya continues to remain slightly lower than prepandemic levels and significantly below that of 2019 for the corresponding period of time (655,144 migrants present during June - July 2019; Round 26). Before the beginning of 2021, the migrant population in Libya had decreased consistently following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn which resulted in increased unemployment, a reduction in available labour opportunities, tightened security controls and mobility restrictions.
Employment and labour market
While the security situation in Libya remains calm but fragile, the economic situation continues to be hampered by years of conflict and the added burden of the pandemic, which is also affecting migrants. According to Labour Force Survey data as referenced in a newly published labour market assessment, migrant workers are estimated to represent around a third of the work force in Libya. Yet, the unemployment rate among migrants, while on par with the previous reporting period (20%) is still higher than pre-pandemic levels (17% in February 2020).
Unemployed migrants interviewed by DTM between July and September consistently reported facing more difficulties, such as financial and security issues as well as lack of access to drinking water than those who were employed. Moreover, a greater proportion of migrants who arrived in Libya more recently generally faced higher levels of unemployment than migrants who had been in Libya for longer periods of time (Fig 1). This has been identified as a significant risk factor which adds to migrants’ vulnerability at the individual level.
Nine in ten migrants interviewed by DTM between July and September reported that economic reasons had been the primary driver for leaving their country of origin (Fig 2). This finding is in line with the results of an assessment conducted by DTM in Niger, which found that nearly three quarters of Nigeriens surveyed in November 2020 reported that migration had had a positive impact on their family.