Hundreds of workers gathered Wednesday in front of Libyan Airlines’ downtown Cairo office to obtain the relevant documents for their return to Tripoli.
“The current situation in Egypt does not indicate future stability, and there are no job opportunities after having returned from Libya two months ago,” said a demonstrator at the protest. He preferred to remain anonymous for fear of being unable to obtain a travel visa, as well as security restrictions.
The eastern Libyan city of Benghazi has been plagued by violence between armed militias supporting retired General Khalifa Haftar and groups with Islamist leanings.
Approximately 40,000 workers were transported via Libya’s western border to neighbouring Tunisia, fearing for their safety.
Libya’s Ambassador to Cairo Mohammed Fayez Jibril told Daily News Egypt that the largest proportion of Egyptians in Libya have obtained residency and are not described as workers.
Jibril added that foreign labour should not comprise more than 15% of the total population of any country, so as not to impact population demographics.
The number of Egyptians in Libya is approximately 1.5 million, despite the ongoing violence currently taking place, the ambassador said.
The Ministry of Planning said that unemployment rates in Egypt stabilised during fiscal year (FY) 2013/2014 to 13.3%.
“We should not underestimate the fact that unemployment indicators have stabilised,” said Alia Mahdy, an economics professor at the University of Cairo, describing the unemployment crisis as scary.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt’s workforce numbers 26 million.
Egypt is aiming to increase growth rates during FY 2014/2015 to 3.2% compared to 2.2% for FY 2013/2014, which will play a part in expanding employment opportunities.