This migration flow has very important implications on Libya’s border management and the fight against criminal networks involved in the trafficking and smuggling of migrants. Due to the lack of a comprehensive and coherent migration management system, unequal treatment of migrants is common, with harsher conditions imposed upon those apprehended, for instance.
The legal and regulatory framework on migration appears poor, fragmented and not harmonised. Libya has not signed and/or domesticated relevant international conventions, and this is reflected in the weak recognition of international standards on the rule of law and human rights.
In the current legal framework no distinction is made between irregular migrants on the one hand, and refugees and asylum seekers on the other hand. All categories are considered to be ‘illegal migrants’ and subject to fines, retention and expulsion.
Even when the legal framework actually protects the rights of migrants, poor knowledge of legal provisions on the part of law enforcement officials and weaknesses in the judiciary system and among legal professionals can hamper the protection of migrants.
Despite media reports and misconceptions on the part of many Libyans, most migrants entering Libya wish to remain and work there, hoping to improve their living conditions. Furthermore, the Libyan economy actually relies heavily on foreign workers.
The country is not able to cover its labour market needs solely by employing local manpower. To reduce irregular migration, a clear official procedure for processing job-seeking migrants is seen as a starting point.
(Source: European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument - ENPI)