The Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram said Egypt ranks first in illegal immigration rates worldwide.
In an economic conference on Thursday, the minister said that Kafr el-Sheikh, Gharbiya and Fayoum governorates rank first domestically in the number of youth who illegally migrate to Europe, most notably to France and Italy.
She gave an example of Mit Badr Halawa village, where the majority of youth immigrated to France.
Makram pointed out that she has dealt with the problem of illegal migration since 2007, when she worked with the Egyptian Embassy in Italy.
According to Makram, the main reason behind illegal migration is unemployment. She said she has been working to coordinate efforts by different authorities in the governorates to provide more job opportunities for youth.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced in October that more than 3,200 migrants had died while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, while more than 300,000 had reached European shores. More than 1 million Middle Eastern, African and Asian migrants entered Europe in 2015.
Egypt passed legislation in mid-October to crack down on people traffickers linked to a major surge in the numbers of migrants departing from the country's Mediterranean coast on often disastrous sea journeys to Europe.
The new law imposes prison terms and fines on those found guilty of smuggling potential migrants or acting as brokers or middlemen. It also imposes prison sentences on those who provide shelter to trafficked migrants, and gather, transport or otherwise facilitate their journey.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm