IOM Libya and Georgetown University: Mapping the professional skills of migrants in Misrata – Challenges and integration strategies in the Libyan market – Libya

To learn more about the lives of migrants in Misrata, IOM Libya partnered with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) at Georgetown University to conduct a mixed-method study including a review of the literature, qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey conducted among nearly 1,000 migrants in Misrata. . The study aims to shed more light on the lives and backgrounds of migrants in Misrata by examining the abilities and skills they bring to the labor market, the challenges they face, and their employment and career aspirations. education.


Almost six years earlier, at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, then Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon summed up the migrant’s story in another way: “ migration, ”Mr. Ban said,“ is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity and security. and a better future. Since 2013, which saw the adoption of the Declaration of the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, dozens of migrants have sacrificed themselves, worked hard and strived to pursue these goals, at a cost. Student. In 2019 alone, the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 5,364 migrant deaths, of which 1,885 – the second largest share – occurred in the Mediterranean.

In addition to being the expression of an aspiration, migration is a complex and non-linear process that comes and goes with economic, political and social currents in the countries of origin and destination of migrants. How do migrants navigate these currents? To what extent can migrants’ pre-existing skills and goals affect these currents as migrants actualize their preferences based on the tide not only of the Mediterranean, but also of the countries bordering it?

The report summarizes the results of a mixed-methods study that aimed to answer these questions among international migrants in the Libyan baladiya of Misrata, which presents what can be considered a model of a Libyan city where the workforce migrant is integrated into the city in a way that “works” for both the migrants and the host population.

Conducted in 2019 by IOM and a research team in Georgetown, the quantitative and qualitative study aims to understand the capacities and skills that migrant workers bring to the labor market; the reasons why they came to work in Libya; their daily life; the challenges they face in Libya; the strategies they use to get around these challenges; and their aspirations for employment and education.

The results of the quantitative survey are generalized to the nearly 56,000 international migrants of 17 nationalities living in the Baladiya of Misrata in December 2018, when the study sample was established. Migrants from Niger (34%) and Egypt (19%) are the two largest groups. The population of the municipality of Misrata (344,000) makes it the third largest in Libya and, in 2018, it hosted 11% of the country’s migrant population. Although this share ranks just after Tripoli (where 21% of migrants reside), proportionately Misrata has a higher migrant-citizen ratio (1: 6).

Besides its ratio of migrants to citizens, several other factors set Misrata apart from other cities in Libya. First, Misrata avoided much of the fighting that followed the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, and this relative stability not only explains its economic success, but also why it attracts Libyans from all over the country, either to live there, either to live there. to visit for shopping or on vacation. Second, the port of Misrata and the industry-related economic ecosystem it creates drives the need for labor.

Third, as the study results corroborate, migrants able to ‘choose’ Misrata do so because the city is considered safer. It also offers many types of employment opportunities, including in construction, industries associated with the port (import, export and transport), manufacturing, agriculture, animal husbandry and fishing. In their qualitative interviews, some migrants cite their good relations with Libyans and their Libyan employers, including those with whom they are currently employed and those for whom they have worked in the past. While other studies on migration in Libya find that migrants report that there are not enough jobs available (3), this study found that migrants more often report that they do not have enough jobs. the skills needed for the jobs available and were eager to find training opportunities.

But the life of migrants in Misrata is not without its challenges. One problem that migrants report, reflecting the findings of other studies, is low wages and irregular payment of wages. (4) A second problem is that the cost of living is on the rise, making it more difficult to save money or send money home, given the cost of migration and the cost of living. Finally, in qualitative interviews, migrants often referred to the petty thefts / armed robberies they encountered both in the streets and in their homes or shelters and during their travels to and from their home. native country.

Misrata’s appeal as an economic hub for migrants cannot ignore the alleged abuses some migrants may have suffered during their journey, including in arbitrary detention. In view of the sensitivities and the challenges surrounding this subject, no interviews were conducted in the detention centers.

About Larry Noble

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