Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date



Following Egyptian returnees after the Libyan crisis, this paper looks at how the events in Libya in 2011 and 2014-2015 impacted them and their decision to leave the country. To provide a comprehensive understanding of the conditions of Egyptian returnees, the paper also analyzes migration trajectories of returnees by subsequently looking at a) the push factors in Egypt, b) the pull factors in Libya, c) security and economic hazards behind the return in 2011 and 2014/2015 and d) the long-term implications of the return of Egyptian migrants. It tackles support provided by stakeholders and service providers during and after the crisis. The research findings point to economic factors playing a paramount role in the decision to migrate to Libya and choosing it as a destination in the first place. The circular modality of migration to Libya has helped Egyptians maintain close links with families in rural Egypt and have increased the flow of remittances sent through constant returns/visits to Egypt. The fact that livelihood opportunities in Libya were available and lucrative made it the most convenient option in comparison to other countries. After 2011, the patterns of xenophobia were aggravating underlying issues, especially considering the precarious security conditions following waves of uprisings in Libya. Furthermore, the general precarity in Libya with the lack of economic potential during and right after the uprisings lead most Egyptians to return. The events in 2011 did not mark the elapse of migration towards Libya among Egyptians. The timeline of migration of different research respondents has shown that many continued to visit until an eventual return in late 2014 or early 2015 during another wave of violence in Libya. The case of returnees from Libya is an interesting case since the conditions they faced, notwithstanding the precariousness of the grave conditions they witnessed prior to return; resemble the conditions faced by a larger group of youth in Egypt’s rural areas. With limited economic prospects, such a larger group is prone to seek migration again to make ends meet.