May 15, 2024

Egypt’s model to combat illegal immigration:

By: Mariah Abdel-Aziz


Photo: Egypt Today

Economic and political turmoil in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa has opened a corridor for
smugglers to ferry migrants to Italy, often with tragic outcomes as hundreds perish at sea. In this context, Egypt is considered as a stable country with solid political and judiciary powers in force, capable to cope with illegal immigration and border control issues.

Egypt has managed to achieve a great development in combating  illegal immigration over the past few years. Egypt has applied proven to be effective measures  to fight against flows of illegal migrants on its shores of the Mediterranean. It has also succeeded in decreasing illegal immigration flows, through tightening land and sea border controls, and establishing a national legislative framework to combat migrant smuggling.

Egypt also hosts millions of refugees and immigrants of various nationalities, and has set an example on  dealing with them without discrimination and integrating them into the Egyptian society, while benefiting from all basic and social services similar to Egyptian citizens, and ensuring their freedom of movement and not isolating them in camps or shelter camps.

In this regard, Egypt has developed effective practices to fight illegal immigration, such as:



  • 2014:- Egypt’s participation in the Rome Declaration on the initiative of the European Union and the Horn of Africa to assist the countries of the Horn in combating the causes of illegal immigration in November 2014.


  • 2015:- Egypt had an active role in the preparation and drafting process at the Valletta Summit in Malta on illegal immigration in November 2015. The summit resulted in Euro-Med led projects to combat illegal immigration.


  • 2016:- The first national strategy to combat illegal immigration (2016-2026) was launched, in addition to the issuance of Law 82 of 2016 to combat illegal immigration; this law put deterrent penalties for this phenomenon, criminalizing all forms of smuggling of migrants, as well as anti-activity institutions involved in this crime.


  • Moreover, the National Coordinating Committee to Combat Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking was established in accordance with this law.


  • Egypt adopted Law No. 82/2016, the Law on Combating Illegal Migration and Smuggling of Migrants, which merged the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration with the National Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons.


  • In order to assist in the strengthening of national capacities to investigate the smuggling of migrants and to prosecute perpetrators of cases, the Bureau initiated the implementation of a series of training workshops, where the trail to this day more than 40 members of the prosecution.


  • In June 2016, Egypt headed and hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh the second ministerial meeting of the African Union and the Horn of Africa initiative on human trafficking and migrant smuggling.


  • The last two workshops on migrant smuggling were held for prosecutors in Hurghada from 11 to 14 December, and in Fayoum, from 17 to 20 December, where they aimed to develop the skills of prosecutors in dealing with migrant smuggling cases in accordance with Law No. 82/2016.



  • 2017:- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime implemented the legal framework through a series of trainings designed for police officers, prosecutors, and judges aimed at strengthening national capacities to investigate crimes of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, prosecute perpetrators, and adjudicate among them.


  • In addition, Egypt and Italy launched a joint initiative to train police officers from 22 African countries to combat illegal immigration in March 2017.


  • In November of the same year in Luxor, Egypt hosted the first conference of its kind that includes all operations dealing with the migration path between Africa and Europe.


  • 2018:- Within the framework of the program of international efforts to combat trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in cooperation with the National Coordinating Committee to Combat and Prevent Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking and the National Center for Judicial Studies, organized a second training seminar for 39 senior judges and investigators from Upper Egypt and Cairo, in the period from 3th to 6th April 2018.


  • In October 2018, Egypt signed an agreement with the European Union to combat illegal migration, people smuggling and human trafficking, as the agreement included seven projects in 15 governorates, worth 60 million euros, to address the main causes of the phenomenon of illegal immigration.


  • 2019:- Egypt also hosted the first regional forum for national coordinating bodies to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Africa in November 2019.


  • President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi pointed to mandate the launch of the “Survival Boats initiative” in December 2019. This initiative focused in particular on providing suitable job opportunities for young people in the villages and governorates that are the most exporting of illegal immigration, which are 14 governorates as follows: “Fayoum, Beheira, Gharbia, Menoufia, Qalyubia, Dakahlia, Sharkia. , Kafr El Sheikh, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Luxor, Qena, and Sohag”.


  • The Ministry of Immigration developed an integrated strategy to implement the “Survival Boats initiative”, which included educating the community about the dangers of illegal migration, safe migration methods, and providing positive alternatives such as training, job opportunities, and entrepreneurship for young people.


  • 2020:- in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The Egyptian component of the project to dismantle trafficking networks and migrant smuggling in North Africa was launched , July 2020.

The project aims at achieving several objectives including strengthening the capacities of first responders to identify and investigate cases of migrant smuggling and human trafficking while protecting trafficking victims and vulnerable migrants.


  • 2021:-  250 million EGP were allocated on the state budget of 2021 to support the implementation of the “Survival Boats initiative” in 70 villages nationwide. The initiative contributed to the launch of projects worth 55 million EGP.




There have also been a number of international praises for Egypt’s efforts in combating illegal immigration, as the European Union Commissioner for Immigration, Citizenship and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos appreciated the Egyptian efforts to stop illegal immigration.

He also stressed that Egypt is a model for stability and growth in the region, while Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz referred to Egypt’s important role in combating illegal immigration.

In turn, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the efforts made by Egypt in securing its maritime borders, which contributed to almost preventing migration from Egypt to Europe.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime confirmed that Egypt has a comprehensive legislative framework to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling, as it adopted a law that established the National Coordinating Committee to Combat and Prevent Illegal Migration and Human Trafficking, in addition to another law related to human trafficking.

The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Egypt’s role is important in stopping migration flows from Africa to Europe stressed, while praised the Director General of the International Organization for Migration Antonio Vitorino the efforts of the Foreign Ministry for the implementation of the Global Compact regular migration and organized and safe.

The head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) mission in the Arab Republic of Egypt, Laurent Debock, welcomed President Sisi’s initiative (survival boats) as it is a good way to raise awareness of the dangers of illegal immigration and to reach suitable alternatives to empower youth, and appropriate solutions to their problems inside their homeland.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, also expressed the UNHCR’s appreciation for the efforts made by Egypt and its success in preventing any illegal immigration from leaving the Egyptian coasts, as well as hosting large numbers of refugees of different nationalities and its keenness to treat them as citizens.




Launching of the Egyptian Component of the regional project Dismantling human trafficking and migrant smuggling criminal networks in North Africa,

Elwatan News, (Monday 5th of April, 2021), Egypt becomes a successful international model in combating illegal immigration and supporting refugees … Info-graph”, Newspaper. Retrieved from:

Info migrants (25th of February 2019), “Arab-European summit in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss ways to combat “illegal immigration” Retrieved from:

UNODC, (22th of December, 2017), Members of the Egyptian Public Prosecution Office receive training to tackle migrant smuggling” Retrieved from:

UNODC, (7th of April, 2018) “The International Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling” program organizes a second workshop for judges on migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. Retrieved from:

Youm7, (Monday 5th of April, 2021), Egypt becomes a successful international model in combating illegal immigration and supporting refugees … Info-graph”, Newspaper. Retrieved from:,%D8%B9%D9%86%20%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A9%20%D9%85%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%8A%D9%8A%D9%86%20%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%86%20%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%86