Number of foreign workers in Egypt dropped in 2011, says agency

The number of foreign workers registered to work in the government and public sector in Egypt decreased by 22.4 percent from 2010 to 2011, likely due to political instability during the interim period after the 25 January revolution, said the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics on Thursday. 

The number of foreign workers in the government and public sector decreased from 870 people in 2010 to 675 people in 2011, according to the agency’s report.

European countries have the highest representation among foreign workers in Egypt, followed by workers from Arab countries, then Asian countries. The number of workers from the Pacific Islands was the smallest category, with only four foreign workers legally registered in 2011. 

The drop in the number of foreign workers corresponds with recent events calling into question the perception of foreigners in Egypt since the 25 January revolution.

Most recently, days before the presidential election last month, reports circulated that the National Security Agency had begun tightening control over hotels and rented apartments in different governorates, asking that the names and information of foreigners in Egypt be sent to the agency.

This came a few weeks after state TV began broadcasting ads urging citizens to be wary of foreigners because they could be spies, which were subsequently withdrawn after critics accused the channel of encouraging xenophobia.

Earlier this year, Egypt triggered international outrage when it brought a case against democracy activists, among them 27 foreigners, accusing them of operating unlicensed NGOs.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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