Thai workers won't return to restless Libya

Thai workers will not be sent back to Libya because the country has not yet returned to normal, says a senior diplomat who is responsible for overseas job placement programmes.

"Thailand has decided not to send back workers to Libya as the situation in the country is not yet completely safe," director-general of Consular Affairs Jukr Boon-long said.

Mr Jukr was speaking after returning from an inspection trip to Libya. He accompanied deputy permanent secretary of foreign affairs Chalermpol Thanjit and other senior ministry officials on the trip to assess the situation there.

Violence broke out in Libya last year when rebels rose up to overthrow leader Moammar Gadhafi who had ruled the country with an iron fist for more than four decades. After months of fighting, the rebels took over the capital and eventually captured Gadhafi. He was killed shortly after being found.

During the civil war, thousands of Thai workers were forced to flee the country. Most of them were evacuated by boat from Libya through Tunisia and Egypt to Italy before flying to back home on Thai Airways.

Mr Jukr said Libya is still unsafe, and forming a stable government is likely to take some time.

A transitional council is in the process of drafting a constitution and preparing to hold an election in June.

"It will be possible for Thai labourers to go back to work in Libya again after the national election," Mr Jukr said.

He also met executives of foreign companies which used to employ Thais in Libya.

"At this point, the Libyan [transitional] government has no need for foreign workers and there are no foreign labourers working in the country now. The financial system in the country still has problems," he said.

Libya might hire a small group of Thai workers to dig oil wells, he said. However, Libya's self-described National Transitional Council has expressed interest in making a deal for Thais to work there under an arrangement between the two governments.

Before, Thais who wanted to work in Libya had to pay a brokerage fee of about 300,000 baht.

(Source: Bangkok Post)

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