Libya govt to ban Bangladeshi workers

Libya’s official government has banned Bangladeshi workers from entering the country because many were trying to use Libya as a jump-off point to illegally travel by boat to Europe, a government spokesperson said on Saturday.

The North African passport Bdcountry, gripped by violence and a breakdown of state authority four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, has turned into a major hub for human traffickers smuggling African migrants by boat to Italy.

“Bangladeshi workers will be banned from entry into Libya,” said Hatem Uraibi, spokesperson for Libya’s internationally recognized government, which has been based in the east since losing control of the capital Tripoli last year.

“They come to work for Libyan firms but then embark on illegal migration [to Europe],” Uraibi told Reuters. “The ban is part of government efforts to fight illegal emigration.”

He gave no further details on the ban which would only apply to land borders, ports and airports in eastern Libya where the internationally recognized government is in control.

Western Libya, the main launch pad for smugglers sending boatloads of migrants towards Italian shores, is controlled by a rival government set up after an armed group seized Tripoli in August.

The UN refugee agency says 51,000 migrants have entered Europe by crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. The flow has prompted European Union plans for naval and air operations to target smuggler vessels.