Migration is increasingly recognized as a significant factor for the achievement of the four main pillars of sustainable development: human, social, economic and environmental. However, more needs to be done to mainstream the role of migration as an enabler of sustainable development for individuals, communities and societies. 

A decade of conflict, coupled with the inadequacy of current educational and vocational training systems has adversely impacted the country’s overall development, while the private sector is underdeveloped. According to the World Bank, prior to 2011, Libya’s active workforce was 2.6 million people of which 50 per cent were foreign workers. Since 2011, conflict, an unstable political climate and the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 has deterred foreign workers from entering Libya, leaving many positions for technical and manual labour jobs unfilled. 

Recognizing that regular migration not only provides economic opportunities for migrants and their families, but also fuels economic growth in the country where migrants live and work, IOM is providing technical and policy support to the Government of Libya on a wide range of migration management issues. 

The IOM Labour Mobility and Human Development (LHD) programme contributes to capacity enhancement in labour migration management by offering policy and technical guidance, supporting the development of strategies, legislation and administrative structures that promote efficient and transparent labour migration flows, and facilitate skill development to harness the full potential of human capital in Libya for economic development. 


LHD aims to advance the inclusion of migrants in the labour market in Libya by conducting research to promote evidence-based policies on migration governance in the country, facilitating bilateral labour agreements that support regular migration, and facilitating training programmes to up-skill migrants. LHD is also working with Libyan authorities responsible for labour and technical vocational education and training to strengthen learning and job experience pathways for migrants and host communities. 

Areas of Intervention

Skills Development and Livelihood Support

In coordination with the Community Stabilization programme, the LHD programme contributes to grassroots capacity development. It supports locally led livelihood initiatives and social cohesion activities, which in turn have a positive impact on migrant community engagement and integration in communities. IOM has partnered with Libyan civil society organizations (CSOs) to provide training in livelihood generating activities to over 300 individuals, including internally displaced persons, migrants and Libyan youth on the operation of heavy machinery for construction, repair of smart phones, technology entrepreneurship and web design.

Facilitation of Bilateral Labour Agreements

IOM works closely with the Ministry of Labour and Rehabilitation (MoL) through strategic policy engagement to strengthen channels for regular migration and create an enabling environment where migrants can contribute to the development of the Libyan economy and society. IOM has facilitated regional dialogue to support the Libyan authorities to engage government counterparts from 14 countries on potential avenues that could facilitate safe, orderly and regular labour migration to Libya. IOM is also providing technical support to Libyan authorities for ongoing negotiations with the Government of Niger to conclude a bilateral labour agreement.

Labour Market-Related Research and Technical Guidance

LHD is building the institutional capacity of MoL by providing updated information on the projected demand and supply of labour in priority economic sectors through labour market assessments and supporting the development of an online Labour Market Information System (LMIS). LMIS will aggregate information to assist MoL to better understand demand and supply patterns and trends. LHD is also supporting Libyan authorities in overhauling the curricula of vocational training centres, to address a deep-seated mismatch between acquired and required skills for the employment market in Libya. This work includes the roll-out of enhanced Technical and Vocational Education and Training modules for in-demand skills related to agriculture, construction and the automotive industry.

Mainstreaming Labour Migration Management Into Governance

To raise awareness on the rights of migrant workers and to ensure labour migration management is mainstreamed in governance at all levels, IOM supports capacity enhancement of national and local authorities and municipalities and CSOs in Libya on migration management and workers’ rights. To streamline these efforts and to ensure they collectively contribute toward effective labour migration management, IOM also supports the Libyan government in developing a coherent policy on labour migration.