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Air traffic controllers fired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last year are finding jobs overseas.

Of 11,400 controllers barred from their jobs after their illegal strike in 1981, more than 1,000 have applied for employment abroad. Between 250 and 300 have been hired to work in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Australia, Switzerland, and other countries, according to the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

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A few controllers are returning to FAA towers. Twenty-one have ''shown good cause'' for not reporting to work when the 1981 strike began. They will be rehired.

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