Libyan Minister of Manpower Ali Al-Abad
Libyan Minister of Manpower Ali Al-Abad said that Libya is in need of one million Egyptian workers.
“The Egyptian workers are highly trained and demanded in Libya especially with its plans of development projects; they are also socially accepted,” Al-Abad said in an interview published in Al-Ahram Daily newspaper on Saturday following the meetings of the Egyptian-Libyan joint higher committee on Thursday.
The joint committee headed by Egyptian PM Mostafa Madbouly and his Libyan counterpart interim PM Abdel-Hamid Dbeibah signed on Thursday 14 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and six executive agreements in several fields including mega projects in Libya.
According to Minister Al-Abad, the agreement is valued at 19 billion Libyan dinars (around $4.2 billion) and they come in the framework of the Libyan government’s “Return of Life” development plan in the North African country which aims to develop infrastructures, roads and housing projects.
The Libyan minister revealed that the manpower ministries in both countries are working on launching a web portal – named Wafad – to organize and regulate all issues and matters involving Egyptian workers in Libya.
The minister added that within the next few days a team from both countries will be in Libya to finish the needed procedures to launch this portal, then direct flights will be launched between Egyptian and Libyan cities.
Concerning the new upcoming web portal, Al-Abad stated that it will help safeguard workers' rights; it will document the exact number of workers in the country, their places of work and their specialization and 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 also can bring their families according to Al-Abad.
For decades, Libya had been a destination for Egyptian expats until 2015 when an IS-affiliated militia launched the bloodiest terrorist attack of its kind against Egyptian expats in Libya by abducting and beheading 20 Egyptian Christian workers.
In retaliation, Egypt conducted air strikes against the IS-affiliated group in the city of Derna.
At the same time Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the evacuation of Egyptian expats in Libya to ensure their safety.
Prior to the evacuation, the number of Egyptian workers in Libya was estimated by the Egyptian manpower ministry at between 800,000 to one million working across all fields.
Despite the official warnings and the civil war in Libya, many Egyptians continued to illegally migrate to Libya, both as an intermediary stage en route to Europe, and lured by fake promises of work.