Why Do Egyptians Want to Immigrate?

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Dream TV in Al Ashira Massa’ has raised an issue about two figures; six million Egyptians have applied for the USA Visa lottery almost 10% of the population or near to 75% of the work force, and the second 79% of a sample expressed their will to immigrate. Messages and phone calls received throughout the transmission have confirmed the second finding.

So why are we witnessing such rise in mobility that have changed its shape from temporary mobility in the 1970 to improve financial conditions by working in Arab Countries and the intention to move permanently. Judge Tahany El Gebaly the deputy chief of the high constitutional court had a theory that I tend to embrace, this mobility is a protest movement among other protests that according to Al Fagr has been on the rise with almost 300 protests in 2007 only. I would add that watching Italian news a common denominator was the arrival of illegal immigrants from a variety of African and Asian countries, these never included Egyptians, the situation witnessed a turnaround and among those clandestine immigrants Egyptians appeared.  Despite the risk associated with this adventure that may lead to death they still do it in a clear expression that their lives are worthless.

I will try to express my views on the issues because what we are witnessing is a symptom, but what are its causes? A good diagnosis is necessary if an appropriate treatment is to be implemented

I would agree that beyond this mutiny and rebelling activities,  there are reasons that led to it, I will use the concept of satisfaction gap that is stated in many marketing books to try to understand why this is happening.

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Definitely there is a high satisfaction gap created by promises that were not delivered, a plaguing disease of all governments in Egypt who are betting always that Egyptians will forget, mixing unfortunately forgetting with forgiving.  On the above People have expectations  that are created not only through the promises but through experience that is built through the various media, the open skies have invaded every house and living styles expressed in various shows have shaped dreams and expectation, adding to that word of mouth from those fortunate who lived the real experience, not through media, contributed to such expectations which become legitimate demands  that Egyptians expects to be available in their country.

But the real experience is not only fulfilling these expectations it is going in the reverse direction.

On the experience with the government the issues of reliability, assurance, tangible, empathy, responsiveness (RATER) mentioned in the above model have to be evaluated. First these items have to be defined, these definition appeared in the book of Hooley, Saunders, and Piercy Marketing Strategy and Competitive Positioning

Reliability: is the ability to perform service dependably and accurately, it is doing what you said you would do.

Assurance: the ability of people to convey trust and confidence, assurance stems from demonstrated professional competence

Tangible: is the appearance

Empathy: Provision of caring and individualized attention to customers it implies being concerned with the long term well being of the customer.

Responsiveness: the ability to react positively and in time to customer requests

We are the customers of our governments so how high is our RATER how good is our experience versus our expectations? I have no comment to make except that we are living through a high dissatisfaction our daily experience is not meeting our expectation the gap is so huge that it is acting as an agent of rejection.

We all have legitimate aspiration for a better life, however each within his framework, however the excuses that are used are today expired like the population explosion, this is not true because growth figures and projections into 50 years are available, so what did the government do about it? Nothing and it is blaming Egyptians to be the cause of the dreadful conditions they are living, Education is poor and the government blames Egyptians for being non productive, non creative, a population that aspires to be a civil servant. Education did not promote the values of work and yet the government is asking Egyptians to work, there is an abundance of jobs available but there is also a reluctance to apply, a clear case of mistrust, unfortunately fed by a media system that portrays private business as evil shylocks and vampires, journalists are attacking privatization, everyone is shouting without providing any solution.

I will use myself as an example, why after 25 years of a successful career I would consider voluntary immigration? The answer can be found in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, one of the first motivational theories.

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One would place me on the highest level of self actualization, however I have recently exercised a growing feeling of alienation and a lack of security for the future which brought me to the second level of needs

An insecurity about my security  at retirement an insecurity about the future of my children a high level of uncertainty about my ability financially to fulfill my family’s needs, in the near future. Over the 25 years  of my career I have shown a great deal of flexibility in making adjustment on my career and adapt to a changing environment in a way that have ensured my survival and that of my family while maintaining the standard of living, today I have great doubts that I can still proceed in the same manner, it is not a matter of a secure job it is a matter of a secure future.

The idea of working abroad was first encountered early in my professional life when I applied for a job in Bahrain back in 1985, however it never materialized, the second time was in 1989 when an opportunity came my way to work in the headquarters of my company in the UK and I applied for it and for the second time it did  not materialize. The whole idea, for more than 15 years, was kept on ice, but it seems that the ice melted and this idea  popped up again in the past two years, this was fed by an ever-increasing feeling of dissatisfaction, my daily experience started to become more stressful not only on the physical ground but also on the moral, I started to be more  critical of what I see and live through, in my mind a comparison was happening between our society and other societies specially Europe. My internal fears started to crop up and  suddenly I found myself living in an environment that is changing in the wrong direction, instead of thinking of the future people are embarking in a relentless trip to the past, progress is happening in one direction prices, my hopes and wishes for a better living place for my children started to vanish  all indicators pointed to the fact that it will never happen, I felt like I am riding a ship that has no direction or aim.

I was accused of greed and ingratitude and ungratefulness, to think in this way, but I think that safeguarding a future is rightful. Few months ago I had an internal dialogue about how many years are available to me to be productive I looked at the future and saw nothing, I am waiting for the next train but this time it seems to me that it will  be late. As I mentioned earlier I was able to make strategic moves very swiftly because of an ability to read through the changes and identify opportunities, in a sense leave one train to ride another one, but this time I am on a train that is slowing down it is coming to a total stall without any new opportunity materializing in Egypt.

What is keeping me, is that there was a shed of light coming from one of the institutes the library of Alexandria, a different place with the right work culture, values and environment.

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12 Responses to “Why Do Egyptians Want to Immigrate?”


  1. 1 Magda Tager December 15, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Hi, cousin

    I saw all of the TV series on Faruk. In my opinion it was great, though I am adamantly even ferociously against the fact that the director is syrian and the main role was given to a syrian. However the Dr Lamysse, the story writer is a legend. Facts were highly respected for an arab film. If you wish more details you can send me directly now that you have my e-mail

  2. 2 Magda Tager December 15, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Hi friend

    I have another opinion of value on the issue

  3. 3 rafiknakhla December 15, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Magda, welcome to my Blog, I hope you like my writing I need your professional opinion.
    What theory do you have specially that you immigrated twice from Egypt to Lebanon in the 60s then to France in the late 80s.

  4. 4 MOHAMED ELGENDY December 17, 2007 at 10:09 am

    I was impressed by ur words as it reflects large amount of my ideas last period,I ask myself mrore than once a day what can i do to defuse the changes in our culture,when people in egypt will be satisfied with their lives and every one will feel his value in life.
    i can’t bleme anyone who tried to travel abroad and misery happens to him and he still tries and tries,this one has suffered from lacking not only of money but say his life.
    i always think about the simple employee whose salary doesn’t exceed 400 L.E. how he can live ? do you think that he even has a dream in his life to be accomplished!!!!!!1
    but the problem will be very great if You hear someone working in the ministry says the the person who pays 150 Piasters for his food a day doesn’t suffer from poverty.
    all that reflects denying facts or careless about the people’s lives.
    the people in all levels have complains about thier lives basics what;s the solution Till now i don’t know

  5. 5 rafiknakhla December 17, 2007 at 10:38 am

    this government is living in another planet they do not see the suffering of most people. They are happy about the improvement in economic indicators but they do not care about improving peoples’ life.
    They even don’t think about maintaining our multibillion pounds infrastructure as we are witnessing in the recent pipes explosion.

  6. 6 noranshafey December 24, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Dear Dr. Rafik,
    I used to think that immigration was the only means of obtaining a credible passport; an opportunity at better job offers in our side of the world and thus rewarding salaries, a passport to the best medical care and the best education for our children anywhere in the world.
    Now I’m positive that all these are not enough. I too cannot help but compare our daily lives and surroundings to other countries. So for whoever gets the chance to immigrate, just grab it and good luck. You’re definitely better off.
    Noran Shafey

  7. 7 rafiknakhla December 26, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Immigration has always been in the quest of better opportunities, it turned to be a quest for an alternative decent nationality, which meant a degradation of the status of our nationality, and now it is an escape from despair. for the first time we see Egyptians tacking the route of desperate Africans or Asians. What a pitty!!!

  8. 8 josep bertran February 6, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I believe tha people migrate for a series or reasons, new oportunities, new hopes or just for hope that are inposible to obtain in their country , an also a sense of adventure, below each inmigrant there a different story.

    Politicians should focus on those that migrate out of desperation , their jor is just to supres extrems of suffering, : reducing corruption, freedom of press and opinion, democratic elecions, strong instituions , sound education , is the way to go , the long was to go to stop the inmigartion of those suffering.
    Form the perspective of the rich europe,it’s time to see that we are getting new and young and strong inmigrants taking care of our elder, nurse taking care of our hospital patients , so thay should be wellcome , truly welcome respecting theri identity as much as posible even helping to develop theri identity as a thank you token for their efford in builidng the so called welcoming countries.

  9. 9 rafiknakhla February 8, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Josef, I should agree with the fact that politician role should be to alleviate all alienating factors, including and most important the fight against corruption. This is the main reason for despair.

  10. 10 engy ramzy April 18, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Dear dr. Rafik

    your question brought another question into my mind WHY SHOULD WE STAY? honostly i can not answer.

  11. 11 rafiknakhla April 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    There are many reasons why they should stay, but on the balance the why should they leave wins, Unfortunately our country that once was a very nice to live in became very repulsive to its people, many alienating factors have become very pronounced, let alone traffic.

  12. 12 ghady December 13, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Hi, my name is GHADY, I am a pharmacist and my principle in life as an Egyptian is Immigrate or die trying.


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