In January and February 2021, 575,874 migrants from over 41 nationalities were identified in all 100 Libyan municipalities during Round 35 of DTM data collection.
In line with the last round of data collection, the number of migrants identified in Libya by DTM in January and February 2021 remained fairly stable compared to November - December 2020.
The unemployment rate (22%), which continues to remain slightly above pre-pandemic levels (17%) but lower than in June 2020 (29%) coupled with the suspension of fighting as well as the easing of some of mobility restrictions are factors likely contributing to a stabilization of the migrant population stock in Libya compared to previous rounds.
The number of migrants had dropped by an estimated 80,000 individuals by December 2020 as many moved from Libya to neighbouring countries following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020,.
While steady progress continues towards the implementation of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum roadmap, the economy and labour market still suffer the effects of the conflict, diminished oil revenues and COVID-19 pandemic. When asked about the three main issues migrants faced, the most frequently cited challenges were financial issues, followed by the lack of identity documents, insufficient information and protection risks.
Individual interviews with migrants conducted by DTM in January and February 2021 highlighted hat a greater proportion of unemployed migrants reported facing hunger, thirst, insecurity, financial issues and lack of identity documents at the time of survey than those who were employed. A DTM study showed that unemployment is one of the most significant risk factors that increases migrants’ vulnerability in Libya, particularly among those who suffer income loss or have limited access to social protection programmes, such as unemployment and health insurance schemes. According to recent interviews conducted by IOM in collaboration with national and international partners, the majority of migrants (95%) reported not benefiting from any social protection mechanism, a proportion which was slightly higher than among the surveyed Libyan population (87%).
The number of migrants who attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea, while only a minority of the total migrant population in Libya, increased significantly during the reporting period. In the first three weeks of February 2021 alone, more than 3,100 migrants were rescued at sea -- a quarter of the total number of migrants intercepted and returned to Libyan shore in 2020.
Despite a drop in the migrant population stocks in Libya, migration patterns remain heavily shaped by geographical proximity and diasporic ties. More than two thirds of migrants are from neighbouring countries: Niger (21%), Egypt (18%), Chad (15%) and Sudan (15%).
In line with a trend that has been consistent throughout the last year, the largest migrant populations were identified in the regions of Tripoli (15%), Ejdabia (12%), Misrata (10%), Benghazi (7%), Azzawya (7%) and Murzuq (6%).