Egypt, Libya to launch electronic link system to allow entry of Egyptian labour

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Dec 2021

Egypt and Libya announced on Sunday that they will launch an electronic link system that will allow Egyptian workers willing to work in Libya to apply for jobs and travel to the Arab country this week.

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Egyptian Manpower Minister Mohamed Saafan (R) meets with Libyan labour and rehabilitation minister Ali Al-Abed in Cairo, 19 December 2021. Egyptian Ministry of Manpower

The Egyptian Ministry of Manpower will be the only entity in charge of transferring Egyptian workers to Libya through the electronic linkage system, a statement by the ministry said.

The remarks were made during a meeting for the Egyptian-Libyan Technical Committee between Egypt’s Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan and his Libyan counterpart, Ali Al-Abed, in Cairo.

The committee seeks to coordinate the return of Egyptian labour to Libya to participate in the reconstruction of the Arab country, the ministry said.

The Libyan side will receive job applications in the required specialties through the electronic linkage system, according to the statement.

The system seeks to save time and effort for Libyan companies willing to bring in Egyptian workers through the Egyptian ministry without any brokers or mediators.

“This provides the necessary protection for Egyptian labour from falling into the clutches of fraud from fictitious companies, especially since most of Egyptian labour is ready to return to work on Libyan lands,” the ministry said.

Companies operating in Libya are looking for thousands of skilled Egyptian workers, Al-Abed, the Libyan labour and rehabilitation minister said.

In April, Egypt announced forming a ministerial committee to examine frameworks for the return of Egyptian workers to Libya.

The announcement came after a visit by a governmental delegation — comprising Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and 11 ministers — to Tripoli for talks on development in Libya.

The return of Egyptian labour was part of numerous MoUs and agreements signed between the two countries during the visit.

Speaking in a press conference during the visit, Madbouly said Libya had embraced 3 million Egyptian workers until 2011.

Since the 2011 uprising in Libya, which toppled the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, the Egyptian foreign ministry repeatedly called for Egyptian expats to leave Libya.

The number of Egyptian expats dramatically dropped due to the deadly conflicts in Libya since then, with no official reports on the number of Egyptian workers who still remain in Libya.

In September, Al-Abed announced the launch of the Wafid portal to regulate the flow of foreign labour into Libya.

In an interview with Al-Ahram in September, Al-Abed said the portal would help safeguard workers’ rights by documenting the exact number of workers in the country, their places of work, and their specialisation, as well as whether they work for companies or individuals.

“The application will end the old crisis that used to happen in the past when fake companies were used to bring workers to Libya,” said the minister, adding that at the same time, any worker who is not registered in the application will be considered an illegal migrant and the Libyan government would not be responsible for them.

On the other hand, registered workers will have privileges provided by the Libyan government like health and social insurance as well as a retirement pension that can be transferred to Egypt. The workers can also bring their families according to Al-Abed.

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