An IOM survey on the socio-economic profile and needs of Egyptian migrants who have returned home because of the crisis in Libya reveals that most of them require support to restart their lives in Egypt.
The survey is based on a questionnaire distributed randomly to 1,283 Egyptian migrant workers during their evacuation from Tunisia and Misurata to Egypt and on focus group discussions organized by IOM in the Upper Egypt Governorate of Fayoum from where many of the migrants came and have returned to. Additional data from this survey was also obtained from the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower and Emigration.
The study confirms that the crisis in Libya, which triggered the return of an estimated 200,000 Egyptian migrant workers, continues to have a negative impact on poor and vulnerable families and communities, especially in chronically food insecure areas such as the Fayoum Governorate. Most respondents were semi-skilled adult males who said they had been supporting dependants through remittances, which have now dried up.
When asked about the future, 75% of respondents said they intended to remain in Egypt and seek work or start-up businesses. In some cases, the decision to remain in Egypt was linked to hopes that socio-economic development will take place alongside Egypt’s political transition. In other cases, returnees said that the trauma and suffering they had experienced or witnessed as they fled Libya influenced their decisions to remain in Egypt.
Despite different motivations, the majority of those who preferred to remain in Egypt said they needed assistance to access financial services and assistance to start-up or reactivate their businesses. The survey found that financial assistance to start private enterprises was largely preferred over additional education and training because of the need for immediate access to income.
Prior to the crisis, Libya was an important source of employment for between 1 and 1.5 million Egyptians who remitted an estimated 33 million USD every year.