Monday, February 28, 2011

Foreigners in #Libya, by Country and Number

Ever since the Libyan uprising got serious and deadly (#Feb17), the media has been reporting the huge exodus of foreign workers in Libya, from a few hundreds (European countries, US) to tens of thousands.

I was rather taken aback by these big numbers for a country of 6 million, so I decided to add them all up, as reported in various news reports.

The result: there are between 2.7 to 3.2 million foreigners in Libya.


50,000 Bangladeshi workers, mainly in Benghazi, as construction workers (

More than 30,000 Chinese (

30,000 Filipinos, as doctors, nurses, engineers (

18,000 Pakistanis (

18,000 Indians (

23,600 Thais (

9,840 Vietnamese (

1,400 Koreans (

6,000 Italians (

3,000 Ukrainians (,%20staff%20from%20Libya)

1,500 Bulgarians (

25,000 Turks (

30,000 Tunisians (

They add up to 246,340. Then,

1.5 million Egyptians (

1 to 1.5 million sub-Saharans (Chad, Niger, etc) (

Total foreigners in Libya: 2,746,340 to 3,246,340


Libya's population: 6,460,000 (CIA Factbook)

Libya's working age population (15 to 64): 3,960,346

Unemployment rate: 30%

Estimate of the number of the unemployed: 3,960,346 times 30% = 1,188,104


Well, is it any wonder that Libyans are angry that there are no jobs for them? They are all taken by foreigners - from white-collar jobs (e.g. engineers at the oil plants, doctors) to manual jobs (e.g. construction workers, housekeepers).

I'm sure the argument is the same in Libya as in the US: the native population is too lazy, they don't want to work in manual hard labor; or the native population is not educated well enough.

In case of Libya, Gaddafi seems to distrust Libyans in certain professions, like doctors and nurses. He probably doesn't trust them in crucial industries like the oil industry.


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