Egypt’s capital Cairo hosts one of the five largest urban refugee populations in the world. For this reason, our paper concentrates on the legal aspect of irregular migration, discussing the characteristics of these migrants as asylum seekers and refugees while also examining transit migrants.
First, the paper tackles associated concepts and data issues, with reference to the existing literature and international standards. In the second part, an overview of the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) situation is given as a prelude to the Egyptian experience. In the third part, the socio-economic profile of refugees and asylum seekers from Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Iraq is given with reference to their legal status, their rights and their living conditions measured in terms of income and sources of income, access to education, employment, health care and social services.
The paper concludes by looking at the socio-economic situation in Egypt and policy recommendations concerning government practices, procedures, mechanisms, policies and laws. Gaps in research have also been highlighted so that these issues can be better addressed in the future.