Egyptian laborers to return to Libya soon, says manpower minister

Egyptian laborers in Libya are safe and an official Egyptian delegation is scheduled to visit Libya before the end of October, Manpower and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hassan al-Borai said Friday.

Borai told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the number of Egyptians working in Libya reached 1,000,300 before the Libyan revolution, noting that about 450,000 of them returned to Egypt during the uprising.

Borai expects these workers to return to Libya to work in rebuilding the country in the coming months.

The Manpower and Immigration Ministry has received a request from Libya to soon send 15,000 Egyptian construction workers to the war-battered country. The ministry will give tests to applicants this week to determine who will be given certificates authenticated by the training and employment center of the ministry to work in Libya. Those who fail the test will be given a three-month training course, said Borai.

When Borai visited Libya last month with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, they agreed with the Libyan transitional government to eventually employ 500,000 Egyptian workers in reconstruction activities, Borai said.

In the same meeting, Libya's interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), also expressed its readiness to compensate the businesspeople affected by the unrest, Borai added, ruling out that Egypt could resort to the UN resolve this issue.

Egypt is now studying how to contribute to reconstructing Libya and invest in its markets, Borai said.

Borai expects many countries to invest in the Libyan market, including Turkey, France, the US, the UK and other European countries. He said the Egyptian government is now coordinating with Egyptian businesspeople to prepare for competition in the transformed market.

Previous crises in which Egyptian workers were expelled from Libya were results of the whims of Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi, who was killed near his hometown of Sirte yesterday, Borai said. He reminded that in any event, Qadhafi compensated these workers later on.

A high-level Egyptian delegation is scheduled to travel to Libya before 30 October to conclude agreements with the NTC on major projects to be implemented in Libya as part of its reconstruction.

The delegation will include the ministers of industry, trade, health, housing, tourism and manpower. Egyptian investors, businesspeople and labor union representatives will also be invited, Borai noted.

An official source at the Manpower and Immigration Ministry said that following the fall of the Qadhafi government, it will be more difficult to organize Egyptian workers' affairs in Libya, since they have been working there without restrictions for so long.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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