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Mixed migration routes and dynamics in Libya: The impact of EU migration measures on mixed migration in Libya


REACH conducted this study in the framework of a partnership with UNHCR with the aim to increase understanding of the impact of migration measures implemented in Libya since early 2017 on mixed migration dynamics in the country. The assessment focused on (1) migration routes to and within Libya, smuggling hubs, and changes thereto since early 2017; (2) refugees’ and migrants’ experience of migration policy changes in their everyday lives and (3) the extent to which information about migration measures implemented in Libya since early 2017 shaped refugees’ and migrants’ decision making on staying or leaving Libya.


This situation overview presents findings from an assessment on mixed migration routes and dynamics to and inside Libya, and the ways in which migration measures since early 2017 in the country impacted these, conducted in eight locations across the country between 21 March and 2nd April 2018. Locations assessed were sampled on the basis of their relevance to migration within Libya ascertained on the basis of IOM DTM23 and other secondary data as either (1) important entry points in the South, such as Sebha and Alkufra; (2) transit cities, including Misrata, Ejdabia, Tripoli and Bani Waleed and (3) exit points to Europe along the coast, including Garabolli and Azzawya. • In each location three to five in-depth semi-structured interviews with key informants were administered. Key informants were selected on the basis of their expertise on migration and included law enforcement officials, mukhtars, civil society representatives and activists, smugglers and humanitarian aid workers. In addition to a total of 32 key informant interviews, 75 in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with refugees and migrants who were selected in five locations selected on the basis of accessibility, namely in the cities of Sebha, Alkufra, Misrata, Tripoli and Bani Waleed. Refugees and migrants were asked to speak about their everyday lives since early 2017 over time, their knowledge of migration measures in the country and decision making over migration. • Data collection was carried out by field teams; all received tailored training on qualitative data collection and interview skills, as well as on ethical considerations around data collection with vulnerable groups. Longitudinal analysis was carried out on the basis of comparable information on routes and mobility collected through IMPACT (of which REACH is an initiative) with Altai Consulting in late 2016 and early 2017 in Libya.24 All information was triangulated with existing secondary data.

Key findings: 

The assessment finds that migration routes to and within Libya have diversified since early 2017. It finds an increase in arrivals from Algeria and Chad and a multiplication of smuggling hubs along the eastern coast of the country. In the face of increased coastguard controls along the Libyan coast, the numbers of refugees and migrants held for long periods of time with limited freedom of movement in warehouses and unsafe accommodations along the coast have increased. In the rest of the country, refugees and migrants continue to suffer from the difficult living situation in Libya. At the same time, knowledge about the security situation and migration measures implemented since 2017 in Libya did not reportedly impact refugees’ and migrants’ decision to go to or stay in Libya or migrate further north.

Sample size: 
Assessment Report: 
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Available on Request
Assessment Date(s): 
20 Mar 2018 to 16 May 2018
Report completed
Unit(s) of Measurement: 
Collection Method(s): 
Structured Interview
Unstructured Interview
Key Informant Interview
Population Type(s): 
Marginalised groups
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
REACH Initiative
Participating Organization(s): 
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Refugees and Returnees