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Egyptian diaspora

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Title: Egyptian diaspora  
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Subject: Egyptians, Egyptian diaspora, Egyptian Australian, Egyptian constitutional referendum, 2012, Arab diaspora
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Egyptian diaspora

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
 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
 Greece 60,000
 Canada 47,375[7]
 Germany 45,000 (2011)[8]
 Australia 40,000 (2011)[9]
 Netherlands 40,000
 Algeria 30,000
Egyptian Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
Coptic (near-extinct but it is in a process to be revived among ethnic Copts)
English and many others
Mainly: Islam

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]


According to studies conducted by the 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]


Egyptians in neighbouring countries face additional challenges. Over the years, abuse, exploitation and/or ill-treatment of Egyptian workers and professionals in the

  1. ^ a b c d e f g
  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. ^
  6. ^ UK census
  7. ^
  8. ^,,1839207,00.html
  9. ^
  10. ^
  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. ^
  15. ^ AfricaNet. Libya.
  16. ^


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]

[1] A study by the

). Egyptian Arabic - Geographics 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 [13][12] and different media outlets.[11]

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