Operation: Opération: Egypt



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
175,000 people of concern assisted in seven languages through UNHCR’s information hotlines
152,000 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers received winterization assistance
84,410 people supported monthly through multi-purpose cash grants to meet basic needs
44,720 children received UNHCR education grants
1,990 refugees were resettled to 10 countries
92% of refugee children were enrolled in primary schools
2019 planning figures
150,000 primary health consultations will be supported
31,000 households will receive multi-purpose cash grants
50,000 students in primary and secondary schools will be provided with education grants
4,500 UASC will be provided with child protection support and services
1,200 refugees and asylum-seekers will be provided with legal support

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 314,937
2017 289,231
2016 263,426


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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[83.25535602,85.170372352,82.27679034,79.08958703,74.46865337,104.15671602],"expenditure":[51.97807067,46.44128458,45.61564518,42.6004643,42.82142057,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[83.18539387,85.120372352,82.27679034,79.08958703,74.46865337,104.15671602],"p2":[0.06996215,0.05,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[51.92002903,46.40966352,45.61564518,42.6004643,42.82142057,null],"p2":[0.05804164,0.03162106,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational environment

The asylum environment remained steady in Egypt throughout 2018, however, refugees and asylum-seekers continued to face delays in obtaining residence permits. 
Following economic reforms, reductions in subsidies resulted in sharp increases in the cost of goods and services, thereby negatively impacting refugee households.
Despite isolated reports of the arrest and detention of refugees and asylum-seekers due to irregular entry, no arrests were recorded in 2018 for attempts to irregularly depart Egypt via the Mediterranean. While several irregular border crossings to Libya were noted, the Office recorded fewer arrests at the southern border in comparison to 2017. Overall, nine cases of deportation or expulsion from Egypt were reported for 2018.
Resettlement continued to be the main durable solution available for most vulnerable refugees in Egypt, however the number of people who met the criteria for resettlement exceeded the availability of places. UNHCR also worked to improve conditions for local integration, including through advocacy with the Government of Egypt for prolonged validity of residence permits (from six months to one year) and greater decentralization of the application process.  
The number of newly registered unaccompanied and separated children stabilized in 2018, however the overall needs among children increased due to their vulnerability, particularly girls who faced a heightened risk of sexual violence, compounded by continued underfunding for activities to prevent and mitigate harm.

Population trends

Throughout 2018, some 314,950* people of concern were recorded, including 30,900 asylum-seekers newly registered with UNHCR. Except for Yemeni applicants, whose number increased by 60% from 2017, this figure represents a slight decline in registration of asylum-seekers.

The number of newly registered Syrians dropped by 62%, largely due to changes in the conflict dynamic in some areas of the country. The remaining applicants were from Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq.


Key achievements

  • UNHCR advocated with the Government to extend the validity of permits for asylum-seekers from six months to one year to address delays in the issuance of residence permits.
  • In continuing to encourage the Government to strengthen their role in managing asylum, the Office submitted a proposal on joint registration and group determination.
  • More than 13,700 families (including some 56,800 individuals) were supported through multi-purpose cash grants that went towards food, rent and other basic commodities.
  • UNHCR restructured its case processing system in order to realign existing processing modalities with global and regional guidelines. Child protection procedures were particularly strengthened and access to quality child protection interventions were improved. 

Unmet needs
  • Resources available to UNHCR to cover life-saving and emergency interventions were limited compared to the needs, resulting in more urgent cases being added to the waiting list.
  • In 2018, more than 60% of basic needs went unmet and less than 25% of the population in need was targeted with monthly cash assistance due to funding limitations.
  • Also due to inadequate funds, UNHCR was unable to cover the needs of all registered children with specific protection needs, including unaccompanied and separated children.
  • High staff turnover and difficulties in recruiting a sufficient number of qualified and experienced registration staff delayed the envisaged restructuring of registration and RSD procedures, thereby causing significant delays to processing of cases.
* The total number of people of concern in Egypt includes 70,020 Palestinian refugees (Source of data: Government of Egypt)

Working environment

Egypt hosts refugees and asylum-seekers from more than 60 countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Yemen.  There has been an increase in the number of people, in particular Syrians, approaching UNHCR’s offices for registration in 2017, with an increase of 44 per cent in the first half compared to the same period the previous year. Refugees and asylum-seekers live in urban areas alongside local communities. High inflation has negatively impacted refugees and asylum-seekers, increasing their vulnerability and dependency on assistance. Visa requirements for Syrians and the short validity of residence permits and lengthy procedures for renewal constitute major challenges faced by refugees and asylum-seekers.
UNHCR carries out the functional responsibilities for all aspects of registration, documentation and refugee status determination (RSD). Egypt grants access to primary and secondary health care to refugees and asylum-seekers of all nationalities. The government has also allowed Sudanese and Syrian children access to public schools. UNHCR works with the authorities to enhance access and quality of education and health care in the public system for refugees and asylum-seekers of all nationalities and provides support to the respective authorities.
UNHCR works closely with the Government and its UN and NGO partners to provide protection and assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers. The refugee response is coordinated through the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG), led by UNHCR.

Key priorities

 In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Preservation of the protection space, enhanced access to asylum, and prevention of refoulement;
  • Issuance of asylum documentation and advocacy with the Government on residence permit, including extended duration of the process;
  • Implementation of the merged registration and  refugee status determination process and preservation of the integrity of the asylum system;
  • Active engagement in mixed flow issues with all partners, response to challenges of onward movement and detention of people involved in mixed movement;
  • Prioritization of protection interventions for vulnerable people such as children and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence;
  • Cash-based interventions as a primary response to the basic needs of refugees;
  • Strengthening access to and quality of national education and health services in the public institutions that provide services to refugees, asylum-seekers and the host community;
  • Pursuing durable solutions, such as resettlement and voluntary repatriation;
  • Enhancing coordination and partnership with the government, state institutions and other partners.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors