Egyptians in the United Kingdom
24,700 (2001 Census)
27,000 (2009 ONS estimate)
|Regions with significant populations|
|London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow|
|English, Arabic, Masry|
|Islam, Coptic Christianity, some Judaism|
In Irish mythology, Scottish mythology, and pseudohistory, 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, Britania 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 Israeli 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.
List of Egyptians in the United Kingdom
- Karmi, Ghada (May 1997). The Egyptians of Britain: A migrant community in transition. Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Occasional Paper 57. Durham: University of Durham.
- "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
- "Estimated population resident in the United Kingdom, by foreign country of birth (Table 1.3)". Office for National Statistics. September 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2010. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95 per cent confidence intervals.