The Egyptian diaspora consists of citizens of Egypt abroad sharing a common culture and Egyptian Arabic language. The phenomenon of Egyptians emigrating from Egypt was rare until Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power after overthrowing the monarchy in 1952. Before then, Cleland's 1936 declaration remained valid, that "Egyptians have the reputation of preferring their own soil. Few ever leave except to study or travel; and they always return... Egyptians do not emigrate".[15]

Egyptian diaspora
Total population
14 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Saudi Arabia1,471,382 (2022 census) [2][3]
 United States2,000,000–2,500,000[4][5]
 United Arab Emirates750,000[3]
 South Africa40,000[7]
 United Kingdom39,000[10]
 Austria33,000 [3]
Egyptian Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
English and many others

Under Nasser, thousands of Egyptian professionals were dispatched across Africa and North America under Egypt's secondment policy, aiming to support host countries' development but to also support the Egyptian regime's foreign policy aims.[16] At the same time, Egypt also experienced an outflow of Egyptian Jews,[17] and large numbers of Egyptian Copts.[18]

After Nasser's death, Egypt liberalised its emigration policy, which led to millions of Egyptians pursuing employment opportunities abroad,[19] both in Western countries,[20] as well as across the Arab world.[21] In the 1980s, many emigrated mainly to Iraq and Kuwait, this happened under different circumstances but mainly for economic reasons. A sizable Egyptian diaspora did not begin to form until well into the 1980s.[22] In 2011, Egyptian diaspora communities around the world mobilised extensively in the context of the Egyptian revolution.[23]

Trends edit

At the end of 2016, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) stated that there are 9.47 million Egyptian expatriates, where 6.23 million Egyptians live in the Arab world, 1.58 million in the Americas, 1.24 million in Europe, 340,000 in Australia and 46,000 in Africa (mostly in South Africa).[3]

Previously, according to studies conducted by the International Organization for Migration, migration is an important phenomenon for the development of Egypt. An estimated 4.7 million (2010) Egyptians abroad contribute actively to the development of their country through remittances (US$7.8 billion in 2009), circulation of human and social capital, as well as investment. In 2006, approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants lived in Arab countries, 950,000 in Libya, 636,000 in Jordan, 300,000 in Kuwait and 160,000 in UAE;[22] also Qatar lists 180,000 Egyptian residents.[24] The remaining 30% are living mostly in Europe and North America (635,000 - 1,000,000) in the United States, and (141,000 - 400,000) in Canada. Europe totals 510,000, with almost half of them (210,000) living in Italy.[22] There is also a large Egyptian population of around 120,000 in Australia.[22]

Generally, those who emigrate to the United States and western European countries tend to do so permanently, while Egyptians migrating to Arab countries go there with the intention of returning to Egypt and have been categorized at least partially as "temporary workers".[25] The number of "temporary workers" was given in the 2001 census as 332,000 in Libya, 226,000 in Jordan, 190,000 in Kuwait, 95,000 in UAE and smaller numbers in other Arab countries [26]

Prior to the 1970s, few Egyptians left the country in search for employment and most doing so were highly skilled professionals working in the Arab world.[27] After a law in 1971 authorized emigration and settlement abroad, and until the 1980s, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Libya saw an important immigration of low-skilled Egyptian workers. From the end of the 1980s until today, emigration to Arab countries decreased, although an important Egyptian population kept living there, and new emigrants started to choose Europe as a destination, often travelling by irregular means.[22]

Challenges edit

Egyptians in neighbouring countries face additional challenges. Over the years, abuse, exploitation and/or ill-treatment of Egyptian workers and professionals in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Libya[28] have been reported by the Egyptian Human Rights Organization[29] and different media outlets.[30][31] Arab nationals have in the past expressed fear over an "'Egyptianization' of the local dialects and culture that were believed to have resulted from the predominance of Egyptians in the field of education" (see also Egyptian Arabic - Geographics).

A study by the International Organization for Migration on Egyptian diaspora in the United States, the United Kingdom and Kuwait found that 69% of Egyptians abroad interviewed visit Egypt at least once a year; more than 80% of them are informed about the current affairs in Egypt and approximately a quarter participate in some sort of Egyptian, Arabic, Islamic or Coptic organizations. The same study found that the major concerns of the Egyptian diaspora involved access to consular services for 51% of respondents, assimilation of second generation into the host country's culture (46%), need for more cultural cooperation with Egypt (24%), inability to vote abroad (20%) and military service obligations (6%).[22]

The Egyptians for their part object to what they call the "Saudization" of their culture due to Saudi Arabian petrodollar-flush investment in the Egyptian entertainment industry.[32] Twice Libya was on the brink of war with Egypt due to mistreatment of Egyptian workers and after the signing of the peace treaty with Israel.[33] When the Gulf War ended, Egyptian workers in Iraq were subjected to harsh measures and expulsion by the Iraqi government and to violent attacks by Iraqis returning from the war to fill the workforce.[34]

References edit

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Saudi Arabia 2022 Census" (PDF). General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2024-04-28. Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "الجهاز المركزي للتعبئة العامة والإحصاء" (PDF). Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  4. ^ ↑ Talani, Leila S. Out of Egypt. University of California, Los Angeles. 2005.
  5. ^ 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, archived from the original on 2020-02-14, retrieved 2018-10-13
  6. ^ "الاردن الثاني عالميا في استضافة المصريين". 1 October 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d CAPMAS. "تسع ملايين و 471 ألف مصري مقيم بالخارج في نهاية 2016" (PDF) (in Arabic). Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Egiziani in Italia - statistiche e distribuzione per regione".
  9. ^ Statistics Canada (18 July 2018). "Data tables, 2016 Census". Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2019 to December 2019". Office for National Statistics. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2020. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  11. ^ "2011 QuickStats Country of Birth (Egypt)". Archived from the original on 2017-08-29. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  12. ^ "Ausländer in Deutschland bis 2019: Herkunftsland". Statista.
  13. ^ "CBS Statline".
  14. ^ Présentation de l'Égypte - Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères. Retrieved on 2020-06-02.
  15. ^ Cleland, Walter (1936). The Population Problem in Egypt; A Study of Population Trends and Conditions in Modern Egypt. Lancaster: Science Press. p. 36.
  16. ^ Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2016). "Nasser's Educators and Agitators across al-Watan al-'Arabi: Tracing the Foreign Policy Importance of Egyptian Regional Migration, 1952-1967" (PDF). British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 43 (3): 324–341. doi:10.1080/13530194.2015.1102708. S2CID 159943632.
  17. ^ Beinin, Joel (1998-01-01). The dispersion of Egyptian Jewry : culture, politics, and the formation of a modern diaspora. University of California Press. OCLC 44963168.
  18. ^ Tadros, Mariz (2009-05-01). "Vicissitudes in the Entente Between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the State in Egypt (1952–2007)". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 41 (2): 269–287. doi:10.1017/S0020743809090667. ISSN 1471-6380. S2CID 154925473.
  19. ^ Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2015). "Why Do States Develop Multi-tier Emigrant Policies? Evidence from Egypt" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 41 (13): 2192–2214. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2015.1049940. S2CID 73675854.
  20. ^ Simona., Talani, Leila (2010-01-01). From Egypt to Europe : globalisation and migration across the Mediterranean. Tauris Academic Studies. OCLC 650606660.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ Choucri, Nazli (1977-01-01). "The New Migration in the Middle East: A Problem for Whom?" (PDF). The International Migration Review. 11 (4): 421–443. doi:10.2307/2545397. hdl:1721.1/81914. JSTOR 2545397. PMID 12278662.
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  23. ^ Müller-Funk, Lea (2016-07-02). "Diaspora Mobilizations in the Egyptian (Post)Revolutionary Process: Comparing Transnational Political Participation in Paris and Vienna". Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies. 14 (3): 353–370. doi:10.1080/15562948.2016.1180471. S2CID 151831503.
  24. ^ Qatar's population by nationality Archived 2013-12-22 at the Wayback Machine - bq magazine. 2014.
  25. ^ Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2015-11-10). "Why Do States Develop Multi-tier Emigrant Policies? Evidence from Egypt" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 41 (13): 2192–2214. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2015.1049940. ISSN 1369-183X. S2CID 73675854.
  26. ^ Interrelationships between Internal and International Migration in Egypt: A Pilot Study (PDF), Ayman Zohry, Forced Migration & Refugee Studies Program American University in Cairo, 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03, retrieved 2015-02-18
  27. ^ Tsourapas, Gerasimos (2016-07-02). "Nasser's Educators and Agitators across al-Watan al-'Arabi: Tracing the Foreign Policy Importance of Egyptian Regional Migration, 1952-1967" (PDF). British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 43 (3): 324–341. doi:10.1080/13530194.2015.1102708. ISSN 1353-0194. S2CID 159943632.
  28. ^ Tsourapas, Gerasimos (17 March 2015). "The Politics of Egyptian Migration to Libya". Middle East Research and Information Project. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  29. ^ EHRO. Migrant workers in SAUDI ARABIA Archived 2006-06-16 at the Wayback Machine. March 2003.
  30. ^ IRIN. EGYPT: Migrant workers face abuse. March 7, 2006.
  31. ^ Evans, Brian. Plight of Foreign Workers in Saudi Arabia
  32. ^ Rod Nordland (2008). "The Last Egyptian Belly Dancer". Newsweek. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  33. ^ AfricaNet. Libya.
  34. ^ Panayiotis J. Vatikiotis (1991). The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak (4th ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-8018-4214-6.