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Many expats decide to return to 'a new Egypt'.

Summary: JEDDAH: A large number of Egyptians living and working in Saudi Arabia have decided to return home after former President Hosni Mubarak's regime was removed from power following a revolution in the country.

By GALAL FAKKAR | ARAB NEWSSaudi Arabia has the largest Egyptian expatriate population of about 2 million.

"I decided to go back to Egypt after I saw on television the changes that took place in Al-Suiz, my home town," Sayyid Hifni, a designer for a Saudi newspaper, told Arab News.

He said he wanted to take advantage of the numerous new work opportunities in his hometown, including in the media sector.

Amr Abdul Rahman, an Egyptian from Alexandria who has been working in the tourism sector in the Kingdom for more than 30 years, said his decision to return home was intended to be permanent.

He said a number of his friends back home told him that there were several new tourism opportunities in Egypt following the dismissal of the former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garana and his business associates who had monopolized the industry there.

Emad Sulaiman, an Egyptian working in the transport sector, said he decided to go back home after he was assured that he could open his own transport company for tourists there.

"I was told that I could now easily start my own business in the sector of tourism," he said.

He added that Garana had stopped all Egyptians from opening new tourism companies, except members of the National Democratic Party and his relatives and friends.

Sulaiman said he wanted to go straight away in order to take advantage of the new opportunities quickly.

"I better go back now and start my tourist business. Establishing a new company in Egypt is now very easy. I am not sure of the future, so it is better that I go now and start my business to avoid making losses," he said.

Abdul Raheem Al-Hawari, a construction worker in a Saudi company on a monthly salary of SR1,200, said he decided to go back after he had heard that the minimum wage in Egypt was now 1,200 Egyptian pounds.

"I do not want more than this. I will go back and join a construction company," he said.

Among the Egyptian expatriates who have decided to go back are a number of political opponents to the previous regime who were harassed by security forces.

Abu Sami, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement, said he would go back now since there is political freedom in Egypt.

"I stayed for more than 30 years in the Kingdom and it is now time to make the journey back. The new political situation is very promising," he said.

Most Egyptians who have decided to go back have spent about 30 years or more in the Gulf and other foreign countries. Many of their children were born in their new countries.

Copyright: Arab News 2011 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7EGYP
Date:Feb 22, 2011
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