Expats moving to Libya usually have secure job offers already in place. Expats often place emphasis on salary when approached with a job offer in Libya, and the money offered to skilled expats will certainly make the country a more attractive option. Most expats are employed in the petroleum industry, which Libya’s economy heavily depends on.
Expats working in Libya will find themselves in a conservative Islamic country, and business will often be conducted in accordance with this. Arabic is the official language of Libya, and expats will do well to have at least a basic understanding of the language. English and French are also widely spoken in business circles.
Job market in Libya
Expats considering working in Libya will almost certainly be pigeon-holed into employment by one of the hydrocarbon companies that dominate the economy.
In a country where the majority of export earnings are attributed to the country’s oil resources, foreigners skilled in this field are most likely to secure lucrative employment.
Construction is another main sector of employment in Libya. This industry supports projects commissioned by the Organisation for the Development of Administrative Centres and other arms of government, such as the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Infrastructure. Other important industries include mining, agriculture and energy, and expats are also increasingly finding work teaching English.
Finding a job in Libya
Expats looking to move to Libya should secure an employment contract before arriving in the country. All foreigners require a visa to enter Libya. We'd advise that expats don't arrive in the country intending to find work.
There are several websites focused on employment opportunities for expats in Libya. A good starting point is sites such as expatcareers.com. Newspapers such as the Libya Herald, which is available online in English, may also be useful resources. Ultimately, most expats will be approached by international companies or even transferred through the company they are already working for.
Work culture in Libya
Business in Libya is conducted in a formal yet polite and friendly manner. Punctuality and a smart appearance are essential; businessmen wear suits and ties, and women should dress modestly.
As with other countries in the region, expats in Libya must be respectful of the local Islamic customs. Many businessmen won't be available during Ramadan, and as Friday is the Islamic holy day, the working week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
English is widely spoken and understood, but basic knowledge of Arabic won't go unappreciated. People with titles should be addressed using their title and surname. Business cards should be printed in both English and Arabic and if someone offers their card, expats should treat it with reverence.
►To learn about Libya's property market read Accommodation in Libya
"The job market is very open right now and it’s fairly easy to get a job as an expat, especially in some fields. If you have a postgrad degree you can easily find a job as an English teacher, even without much experience, and even if you’re not a native speaker. Things will not always be that easy so now is a great time to make your move to Libya. The best resource is word of mouth, nothing works better in Libya."
Read more about French expat Jameela's experiences in Libya.
Are you an expat living in Libya?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Libya. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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