Positive international migration

Trends in migration show that 15% of Egyptian household have got a migrant abroad or a returnee (as per paper by Jackline Wahba) . The main reason for international migration is that people cannot find jobs, and not that they are badly paid. Of course people migrate for better pay, to enhance their economic conditions , but primarily they leave for better job prospects or because they are unemployed. Striking patterns over the last years show that the Egyptian migrant has become more educated and more rural.

Educational Level of Migartion Over time

ELMPS survey data source. Paper by Jackline Wahba

The paper ‘Five Decades of International Migration in Egypt’ by Jackline Wahba (University of Southampton) examines international migration in Egypt and provides an overview of the trends and patterns of international migration over the past fifty years. Wahba monitors the changing profiles of migrants and compares their characteristics to non-migrants- distinguishing between current and return migrants.  She also compares between the push and pull factors behind out migration and return migration; studies the contributions of migration to skill acquisition of migrants, and analyzes savings and remittances as well.

International migration is good

Wahba argues that evidence show that savings and remittances play an important role in the enabling of migrants; rural or urban; and their household to become investors in shares and invest in projects compared to non-migrants. 36% of rural migrants use their savings to buy shares. That is money in action! Interestingly enough 60% of migrants send back remittance through formal channels back to their families in 2012 as opposed to 22% in 2006 (as provided by Wahba). This inevitably has a huge impact on the Egyptian economy.

The results show that returnees also experience an upward occupational mobility upon return to home countries. So they are able to upgrade their skills and knowledge and move forward in higher level management positions.

Occupation of Return migrants: Before, During and After Migration

ELMPS survey data source. Paper by Jackline Wahba

Skills and Savings: Direction for policy
Finally, Wahba argues that there is bad publicity about the impact of migration and that it has a positive impact on the Egyptian economy. Wahba suggests that efforts should be directed towards maximizing benefits of migration, and building on the new skill set acquired and saving accumulated by returnees. Also for Government to provide direction to where savings and direct investments of returnees should go and which sectors need that sort of help.


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