File Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry building. Al-Ahram
Marking International Migrants Day on Sunday, the ministry said Egypt hosts around 9 million migrants and refugees who left their countries for different reasons but found a safe haven in Egypt.
Egypt’s vision regarding migration is based on many pillars, including achieving development domestically and making the choice to migrate an option rather than a necessity.
Egypt works on building the capacities of young people in a way that is consistent with the requirements of the domestic and foreign work markets, while not banning migrants from working, the ministry said.
Migrants in Egypt live side-by-side with Egyptians, rather than in refugee camps, where they have full autonomy and access to all basic services, the ministry stated.
International Migrants Day is celebrated annually on 18 December to recognise the important contribution of migrants, while also highlighting the challenges they face, according to the United Nations website.
It has been celebrated since 1990 when the UN adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families treaty.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has estimated the number of migrants and host community members in Egypt at over nine million people hailing from 133 countries, according to a statement released in August.
Migrants are one of the most disempowered communities globally, as they face mistreatment, exploitation and a lack of access to basic services, said the ministry.
Despite this, they are an important source of economic development through their knowledge and skills in their host country and remittances sent back to their home country, the ministry continued.
Egypt has stepped up its efforts since 2016 to deal with irregular migration, when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched the country’s first national strategy to combat irregular migration. In addition, Law 82/2016 set out penalties criminalising all forms of migrant smuggling.
Addressing migration requires cooperation, global participation, solidarity and sharing of responsibility with all relevant parties to ensure fair access to asylum, reduce forced displacement and promote integration, added the ministry.