IOM, National Observatory for Migration Assess Needs, Impact of Libyans in Tunisia

Tunisia - Five years after the outbreak of the Libyan crisis, many Libyans have fled to Tunisia, but relatively little is known about their situation.

IOM Tunisia and the Tunisian National Observatory on Migration (ONM) yesterday (26/5) presented the results of the first qualitative study on the socioeconomic needs and impact of Libyans in Tunisia. The launch was attended by over 100 representatives of the government, the diplomatic community, UN agencies, NGOs, civil society and the media. 

Based on a field survey conducted on a random sample of 1,500 Libyan residents, backed by data sets provided by the National Institute for Statistics, and complemented by interviews and focus groups with key informants, the study is qualitative in nature and does not aim to provide an estimate on the number of Libyans residing in Tunisia.

It offers instead a better understanding of the socioeconomic conditions of Libyans before and after their arrival in Tunisia, their geographic concentration across the country, and an assessment of the factors that could result in their socio-economic marginalization.

Director General of the National Observatory for Migration Chokri Arfa, speaking at the launch in Tunis, said: “The results of this study are extremely important. They highlight the need to put in place various economic and social measures, such as better access to basic services, especially in the fields of health, education and decent work.”

According to the study, Libyans in Tunisia are mainly concentrated in Greater Tunis (34.7 percent), the Center-East (29.3 percent) region, the Northeast (16.8 percent) and the Southeast (15.5 percent.) They live in both wealthy and more disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The distribution of age groups shows that the population is rather young and faced with increased precariousness reflected by declining incomes. They are searching for cheaper rentals, spending less for food and health care, and finding it difficult to access the Tunisian labour market and schools.

The study also addresses the issue of their prospects for returning home to Libya. Some 70 percent of people interviewed wanted to return to Libya as soon as peace is restored. Overall, they highly appreciate Tunisia’s social and welfare assistance, despite their increasingly difficult living conditions.

The study provides many evidence-based recommendations for further consideration for institutional decisions and planning purposes, taking into consideration the needs and opportunities in the frame of a good governance of migration in the country for the benefit of all.

The study (in French) can be downloaded here.

For further information please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Tunisia, Tel. (+216) 28542954, Email: