Because of its geographical size and location, Libya has for centuries been a transit county for human movement across the region. Thus, its experience with immigrants has a long history. In the early 1970s, Libya became a destination for foreigners seeking jobs. Some entered the country legally, others illegally. All came to work, live, and send remittances back to their families. During the 1990s, when many migrants used Libya as a transit country for crossing the sea to Europe, the European Union started negotiating with the Libyan government to curb the flow of irregular migrants. In 2011, the country joined the Arab Spring and soon became a failed state and a haven for lawless gangs. Today Libya is the major transit country for irregular migrants traveling from North Africa to Europe, and it will likely continue to play such a role for long time to come.
Attir, Mustafa O.
"North African Regular and Irregular Migration: The Case of Libya,"
New England Journal of Public Policy: Vol. 30:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/nejpp/vol30/iss2/5