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Economy, Labor

Arab world, foreign workers, Chad, Nigeria, Egypt

Like many oil-producing countries with small populations, Libya relies heavily on workers from other countries. Some estimates put their total at 40 percent of the active labor force. Not only is most of the petroleum sector staffed by foreign workers, but so too are many farms and factories. Since the late 1960s, when they started to enter the country in large numbers, foreign workers have been subject to occasional harassment and expulsions on political grounds as Libya’s foreign policy stance has evolved. Most of the workers have come from the Arab world, notably Tunisia, Egypt, and Palestinian areas; from sub-Saharan Africa, notably Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria; and from South and Southeast Asia. In 1990, 11 percent of the working population was engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 23 percent in industry; and 66 percent in services.

Article key phrases:

Arab world, foreign workers, Chad, Nigeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Southeast Asia, Tunisia, forestry, sub-Saharan Africa, large numbers, expulsions, fishing, farms, factories, agriculture, oil, percent, countries, estimates, country, total, industry, services


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