Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Cairo Studies on Migration and Refugees

Publication Date



In reviewing migration flows in and out of Egypt after the Arab ‘Spring” and the events leading to the Egyptian Revolution in January 25th, 2011, the initial suspicion and resistance to any information dissemination was noted by the researcher as a definite change in attitude in the country after the revolution. This may be attributed to recent raids on U.S. funded pro-democracy NGO’s among others and accusations of foreign interference in domestic affairs. Along with the volatile political situation in the aftermath of the revolution, distrust runs rampant, as well as a low prioritization with regards to migration issues in the grand scheme of daily crisis. In the absence of a president, a constitution and an active police force, the situation in Egypt is less than ideal for conducting proper research. However, this study attempts to give a snapshot of the most recent migration trends in and out of Egypt since the revolution. It addresses various political parties’ and prominent figures’ perception on migration policy and its position in the current political dialogue. The first part of this paper will review the developments over the past fifteen months—January 2011 till April 2012—of Egyptian immigration policy. Interviews were conducted with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Africa & Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee Office in Cairo (UNHCR)as well as migration expert, Ayman Zohry. Although all those interviewed agreed that there was no official change in policy before and after the revolution, regarding refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt, the most significant difference, post revolution, is the presence of a refugee camp along the border area near Salloum, as a response to the crisis in Libya. Therefore, this paper will review the development of this particular aspect of incoming migration to Egypt. In addition, opinions differ on conditions of refugees in Egypt during the period following the revolution. According to some, refugees suffered from xenophobia and increased discrimination, due to the lack of security presence throughout the country and because of on-going rumors of third party manipulations in domestic affairs, while others refute this argument based on a lack of evidence. Both the above viewpoints will also be presented in this study