Work and Travel in Libya
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN LIBYA FOR TRAVELLERS
Libya used to be one of the most prosperous countries in all of North Africa and the Middle East. With the war against Colonel Gaddafi, though, Libya has descended into anarchy. In 2019, little has changed, with two governments continuing to rule the country from Tripoli and Benghazi.
There are so many volunteer opportunities in Libya for travellers. However, you must make sure you work with a registered organisation that can keep you safe.
Read this travel guide to Libya before thinking about travelling there(https://www.lonelyplanet.com/libya).
1. Restore World Heritage Sites in Libya
Libya was always such a popular place because of its UNESCO World Heritage sites. Many of them were damaged by the war. Sites like Ghadames were damaged but not destroyed. International organisations are already there repairing and restoring sites like this.
If you want a role in helping to preserve history, work in Libya could be for you. You’ll be working alongside locals as you paint, plaster, and participate in general restoration to bring back the sites to their former glory.
2. Become a Translator in Libya
Despite the war, Libya is a nation that has a huge number of online users. One of the online volunteering opportunities in Libya involves translating texts.
The majority of the work requires a strong knowledge of Arabic, but there are plenty of translation opportunities for those who know a second major language, including English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
These opportunities will require you to travel in Libya and support organisations within the urban areas.
3. Assist Vulnerable Groups in Libya
There are a lot of vulnerable groups in Libya. With much of the country controlled by warlords, help is needed more than ever.
If you want to work in Libya and assist vulnerable groups, you can do so. The work could involve distributing food and medical supplies, supporting children through education, and providing women with the skills they need to survive in the New Libya.
This is a rewarding job that will ultimately give you a sense that you’re helping to make lasting change in the country.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR LIBYA
Libya currently doesn’t offer any form of tourist visa. As of 2014, there were plans to reintroduce tourist visas, but there’s no further news on it. This is because the Libyan government doesn’t truly control the land border points to its own territory and the security situation hasn’t improved significantly enough.
We should also mention that Libya requires a visa for practically all countries. The exception is the US, whereby if you’re working in the country you can enter without a visa if your company has written a letter of sponsorship(https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Libya.html).
This is why you need to have a position before you travel in Libya. Visa support is required to even stand a chance of entering the country.
We should also mention that as of December 2018 all Western governments caution against all travel in Libya(https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/libya/safety-and-security).
Make sure you’re working with a reputable organisation that will not only obtain you a visa but provide you with security whilst you work and travel in Libya.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN LIBYA
First of all, you should be aware that Libya is a huge country and weather patterns are known to shift by region. However, spring is the ideal time to work in Libya because the warm air currents from the Sahara clash with the cooler air currents from the Mediterranean, thus providing a pleasant climate across the country.
During this time of year, we recommend moving south because this is one of the few times when it’s tolerable to work in the desert. The isolated peoples here are in need of help and spring time is the time to help them.
Offering supplies, which were cut off by the war, and providing basic services like education are popular options for volunteers.
The summer season is extremely hot and dry. We recommend working in the coastal regions during this time of year. Tripoli and Benghazi are hubs for major international projects.
You could be helping businesses get online, offering computer classes, or aiding in the translation of texts. Supply distribution is another option for getting closer to local people.
The autumn season is much like the spring, in terms of climate. Again, we recommend the southern and western regions as it’s one of the few times you can work in the desert without suffering from heat stroke.
Another option for volunteer jobs in Libya is to help with construction work. As you would expect, many buildings were destroyed during the Libyan Civil War and many of them haven’t received the funding needed to help with construction.
You’ll be working alongside locals and supporting them in their work.
Winters are typically mild and the whole country is open for work. You should be aware that the temperatures can drop to near freezing, especially if you’re in the desert regions. However, it’s a fantastic time to work on outdoor projects.
You’ll be able to work on construction projects and on restoring UNESCO World Heritage sites.
You can also refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for some more information on some of the things you can do in winter in Libya.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN LIBYA
Understand that Libya is still one of the most dangerous countries in the world and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to wander around at will. The majority of foreign workers live in guarded compounds and are surrounded by armed guards when they leave that compound.
Most of the time, you won’t be in contact with locals unless you’re directly working with them. Libyans aren’t hostile to foreigners, but there’s a lot of anger in many circles about what Western intervention did to their country. Most Libyans have been directly damaged by the war in some way.
It’s best to avoid mentioning the war entirely, or anything to do with the current state of politics.
But other than that you’ll find traditional Arabic friendliness and hospitality on show.
Do you want to work and travel in Libya?