Egyptians in the United Kingdom

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Egyptians in the United Kingdom
Total population
Egyptian-born residents
24,700 (2001 Census)
27,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
Regions with significant populations
London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow
British English, Egyptian Arabic, Coptic, Sa'idi Arabic
Predominantly Islam and Christianity (Coptic); minority Judaism

Egyptians in the United Kingdom are people of Egyptian ancestry who are citizens or residents of the United Kingdom.

Migration history[edit]

In Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, and pseudo history, an Egyptian princess named Scota is mentioned as having arrived in today's Scotland (and/or in Ireland) in a very early period of these countries' history. The historical veracity of the story is greatly doubted, however. And under the Roman Empire, Britannia and Egypt were two provinces of a single empire which had considerable trade and interaction between its constituent parts. However, if any Egyptians settled in Roman Britain, there was little evidence left of their presence.

Egyptians historically have been averse to emigrating from their country, even when suffering with significant poverty. As such, prior to the late 1960s, only small numbers of Egyptians moved to the United Kingdom, and even then mostly for the purposes of study. As the Egyptian Revolution that began in 1952 developed an increasingly socialist character under Gamal Abdel Nasser, with the nationalisation of many private businesses, some upper and middle class Egyptians sought to leave the country. However, large scale emigration did not occur until after Egypt's defeat in the Six Day War of 1967, which left the Sinai Peninsula entirely under Israel I occupation, and placed an immense economic burden on the country.

Given the severity of the country's economic woes following the war, particularly after the outbreak of the War of Attrition, the Egyptian Government saw advantages in Egyptians moving overseas to work and send home remittances. Therefore, it partially relaxed the strict regulations against emigration (which included requirements for exit visas). This change in approach was extended under Nasser's successor as President of Egypt, Anwar El-Sadat. Over the course of the 1970s and 80s, many Egyptians took advantage of the loosening of these restrictions, and moved to Western states, such as the United Kingdom, and the oil rich states of the Persian Gulf.

Over the same period, heightened religious tension in Egypt resulted in further emigration, largely of Copts, although the numbers emigrating to the U.K. were small compared to Canada, and Australia. With Egypt's economic liberalisation under Sadat in the 1970s, labour migration to the U.K. increased, as did the flow of Egyptians moving to the U.K. for higher education. Many students stayed in Britain after finishing their studies. During this time, many Egyptian businessmen migrated to the U.K. to establish businesses.[1]


According to the 2001 UK Census some 24,700 Egyptian-born people were present in the U.K.[2] The Office for National Statistics estimates that the equivalent figure for 2009 was 27,000.[3]

The National Association of British Arabs categorises Egypt-born immigrants as Arabs. Based on census data, it indicates that they are the fourth largest population of British Arabs by country of birth.[4]

List of some prominent Egyptians in the United Kingdom[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karmi, Ghada (May 1997). The Egyptians of Britain: A migrant community in transition (PDF). Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Occasional Paper. 57. Durham: University of Durham. 
  2. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  3. ^ "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. September 2009. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2010.  Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.
  4. ^ "REPORT ON THE 2011 CENSUS – MAY 2013 – Arabs and Arab League Population in the UK – Appendix 6 – Countries of Birth of UK Arabs". National Association of British Arabs. Retrieved 22 December 2015.