Egyptian diaspora

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Egyptian diaspora
Total population
4.7 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Libya 2,000,000 (2012)[2]
 United States 800,000 - 2,000,000 (2010)[3]
 Saudi Arabia 1,700,000[citation needed]
 Jordan 550,000[2]
 Kuwait 500,000[2]
 Qatar 180,000 (2014)[4]
 France 300,000 (2009)[5]
 United Kingdom 147,02 (2000)[6]
 Italy 125,000[citation needed]
 Greece 60,000[citation needed]
 Canada 47,375[7]
 Germany 45,000 (2011)[8]
 Australia 40,000 (2011)[9]
 Netherlands 40,000[citation needed]
 Algeria 30,000[citation needed]
Languages
Egyptian Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
Coptic (near-extinct but it is in a process to be revived among ethnic Copts)
English and many others
Religion
Mainly: Islam
Christianity

Egyptian diaspora consists of citizens of Egypt abroad sharing a common culture and Egyptian Arabic language.

The phenomena of Egyptians emigrating from Egypt was rare until Nasser came to power after overthrowing the monarchy. In the 1980s many emigrated mainly to Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to work, this happened under different circumstances but mainly for economic reasons. A sizable Egyptian diaspora did not begin to form until well into the 1980s and today it is estimated that about 4.7 million Egyptians live abroad.[1]

Trends[edit]

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 million in 2009), circulation of human and social capital, as well as investment. As of 2006, approximately 70% of Egyptian migrants lived in Arab countries (1.3 million in Saudi Arabia, 950,000 in Libya, 500,000 in Jordan, 250,000 in Kuwait and 160,000 in UAE;[1] also Qatar lists 180.000 Egyptian residents.[4] The remaining 30% are living mostly in Europe and North America (635,000 in the US, and 141.000 in Canada. Europe totals 510.000, with almost half of them - 210,000 - living in Italy).[1] There is also a large Egyptian population of around 80.0000 in Australia.[1]

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". The number of "temporary workers" was given in the 2001 census as 923,000 in Saudi Arabia, 332,000 in Libya, 226,000 in Jordan, 190,000 in Kuwait, 95,000 in UAE and smaller numbers in other Arab countries [10]

Prior to the 1970s, few Egyptians left the country in search for employment, and most in doing so were highly skilled professionals. After a law in 1971 authorized emigration and settlement abroad, and until the 1980s, the Gulf States 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.[1]

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 have been reported by the Egyptian Human Rights Organization[11] and different media outlets.[12][13] 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 US, UK 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%).[1]

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g MTM: A Dialogue in Action. Linking Emigrant Communities for More Development (PDF), International Organization for Migration, 2010, retrieved 2015-02-18 
  2. ^ a b c Wahba, Jackline. A Study of Egyptian Return Migrants. February 2011.
  3. ^ Talani, Leila S. Out of Egypt. University of California, Los Angeles. 2005.
  4. ^ a b Qatar´s population by nationality -bq magazine. 2014.
  5. ^ http://www.emigration.gov.eg/allnews/DisplayNews.aspx?CatId=16&NewsId=88758
  6. ^ UK census
  7. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  8. ^ http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1839207,00.html
  9. ^ http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/communityprofile/0?opendocument&navpos=220
  10. ^ Interrelationships between Internal and International Migration in Egypt: A Pilot Study (PDF), Ayman Zohry, Forced Migration & Refugee Studies Program American University in Cairo, 2005, retrieved 2015-02-18 
  11. ^ EHRO. Migrant workers in SAUDI ARABIA. March 2003.
  12. ^ IRIN. EGYPT: Migrant workers face abuse. March 7, 2006.
  13. ^ Evans, Brian. Plight of Foreign Workers in Saudi Arabia.
  14. ^ Rod Nordland (2008). "The Last Egyptian Belly Dancer". Newsweek. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  15. ^ AfricaNet. Libya.
  16. ^ 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.