Libya - Migration

The number of Italians was as high as 70,000 during the period of colonial rule. In 1964 there were 30,000. Most left after their land and property were nationalized in 1970. There were 30,000 Jews in Libya in 1948, but because of the Arab-Israeli conflict the community had virtually disappeared by 1973.

In 1984 there were officially 263,100 non-Libyans in the country, of whom more than 40% were Egyptians and 15% were Tunisians. The remainder came from a variety of other countries in Africa, the Mideast, and elsewhere. This figure was less than half the 569,000 foreigners in 1983, before new restrictions were placed on remittances abroad. In 1992, the foreign population was estimated at 2 million, half of them Egyptian, and 600,000 from South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. This higher figure probably reflects illegal immigration. About 100,000 Libyans were in exile in the mid-1980s.

The nomadic inhabitants of Libya follow regular patterns of migration; nomadic tribes in the south normally ignore international frontiers. Since the discovery of oil there has been significant internal migration from rural to urban regions.

In 2000 there were 570,000 migrants living in Libya, including 11,500 refugees. In that year, the net migration rate was -0.4 per 1,000 population. The government views the immigration level as too high, but the emigration level as satisfactory.

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