Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Second Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Cairo Studies on Migration and Refugees

Publication Date



The conflict in Syria, now in its fourth year, has produced 2.9 million refugees that are being absorbed by other countries in the region. The number of Syrians registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt was 138,245 as of July 7, 2014 (UNHCR, n.d.). However, the actual number of Syrians in Egypt was higher, as the above figure represented only those who were registered with UNHCR. The Egyptian government estimated the total number of Syrians in the country at 300,000 in 2014 (Akram et al, 2014). This study seeks to understand the challenges faced by Syrian refugees in Egypt amidst the ongoing political changes in the country, including how such challenges affect their livelihoods and economic activities. Researchers used a mixed-methods approach that included a 310-household survey, as well as focus group discussions with selected survey participants and in-depth interviews with key Syrian informants and individuals working in organizations and associations providing services and assistance to Syrian refugees. This study found that Syrian refugees’ living conditions in Egypt have shifted along with changes in the country’s political environment. President Mohamed Morsi, in office from June 2012 to July 2013, openly supported Syrian opposition forces; however, after Morsi’s overthrow in July 2013, both government policies and media rhetoric turned against Syrian refugees. While this shift has corrected somewhat, participants noted still feeling its effects. Participants reported economic difficulties as well, including the depletion of their savings as their length of stay in Egypt increased. This study also reveals a lack of clarity in policymaking as it relates to Syrian refugees in Egypt: For example, how long will current visa requirements be in force? What are the criteria upon which these refugees will be granted different types of visas to reenter Egypt? Increased clarity and the cooperation of the Egyptian government are needed to ensure Syrian refugees have access to necessary resources and stability.

First Page


Last Page