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Through the Keyhole: International Migration in Egypt


  • Jackline Wahba


This paper examines international migration in Egypt and provides an overview of the trends and patterns of international migration over the last few decades. It documents the changing profiles of migrants and compares their characteristics to non-migrants, distinguishing between current and return migrants. Also the push and pull factors behind out-migration and return migration are investigated. In addition, the contributions of migration to skill acquisition of migrants, savings and remittances are examined. The findings highlight the importance of international migration to the Egyptian economy. Saudi Arabia continues to be the most important destination of migrants, but is by no mean the sole destination. The profile of migrants has changed over the past four decades as migrants have become more educated but also more rural. Although migrants are more educated than non-migrants, returnees are on average not as educated as current migrants. Yet, the findings show that returnees indeed experience an upward occupational mobility upon return. More importantly, the evidence suggests that savings and remittances have played an important role in enabling migrants and their households to become investors in shares and economic projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackline Wahba, 2014. "Through the Keyhole: International Migration in Egypt," Working Papers 830, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:830

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Binzel, Christine & Assaad, Ragui, 2011. "Egyptian men working abroad: Labour supply responses by the women left behind," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages 98-114.
    2. McCormick, Barry & Wahba, Jackline, 2001. "Overseas Work Experience, Savings and Entrepreneurship amongst Return Migrants to LDCs," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(2), pages 164-178, May.
    3. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft, 2013. "The Egypt labor market panel survey: introducing the 2012 round," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-30, December.
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    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:656-682 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mahe, Clotilde, 2017. "Husbands' return migration and wives' occupational choices," MERIT Working Papers 031, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. El-Mallakh, Nelly & Maurel, Mathilde & Speciale, Biagio, 2018. "Arab spring protests and women's labor market outcomes: Evidence from the Egyptian revolution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 656-682.

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