Minister of Emigration and Expatriates Affairs Soha Gendy and Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy among a meeting with both ministries officials. Photo courtesy: Ministry of Emigration and Expatriates Affairs. .
This came during the two ministers' meeting with officials at the two ministries to discuss a number of files in the coming period, the emigration ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The Lifeboats initiative is a part of a media awareness campaign nationwide to raise awareness of the danger of irregular migration.
The initiative was launched in 2019 upon presidential directives as part of the country's intensified effort to combat irregular migration.
The initiative aims to provide job opportunities in villages that are the sources of large numbers of irregular emigrants, with EGP 250 million allocated across 70 villages in the country.
Today's meeting also took up prospects of future cooperation, relevant issues and the development of cooperation mechanisms in the areas of combating irregular migration including the Lifeboats initiative, read the statement.
The two sides also mulled bilateral cooperation in organising youth forums for the second and third generations of Egyptian expats and building on the previous cooperation serving youth living abroad and youth in villages that are sources of irregular emigrants, along with developing awareness and education programs in this regard, the statement added.
Gendy said that they discussed sports initiatives, activities and programs, targetting the youth of these villages.
She further stressed the importance of the role of sports in reintegrating young people into society and thus contributing to the elimination of cross-border crimes and the phenomenon of irregular migration.
For his part, the youth and sports minister asserted that his ministry would continue fruitful cooperation with the emigration ministry and work on implementing joint programs and projects.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has stressed on more than one occasion that Egypt will not be a transit point for irregular migrants seeking to reach Europe, stressing that Egypt hosts nearly six million refugees from Africa and other unstable countries.
Since 2016, Egypt has stepped up its efforts deal with irregular migration, setting a legislative framework to combat the smuggling of migrants.
In 2016, President El-Sisi launched the country’s first national strategy to combat irregular migration with Law 82/2016 setting out penalties criminalising all forms of migrant smuggling, in addition to combatting the activities of those involved in such acts.
The law punishes whoever commits, attempts, or is involved in the crime of smuggling migrants with imprisonment and a fine ranging from EGP 200,000 to EGP 500,000.
In 2022, the country toughened the law, forcing those who commit the crime of smuggling or aiding in the smuggling of migrants to pay a fine equal to the value of the amount they profited from the operation.
Additionally, those who witnessed irregular migration crimes and chose not to report them to authorities will be sentenced to one year in prison and forced to pay EGP 50,000-200,000 in fines.
Furthermore, public servants who fail in their assigned responsibilities to fight irregular migration will be sentenced to between three to five years in prison.