New mobilities around Morocco: viewed through the case of Fes
Equipe de Recherche sur la Région et la Régionalisation (E3R) – Université Mohammed V – Agdal, Maroc
This study looked at the trajectories and motivations of migration among European migrants to Morocco; Sub-Saharan African migrants to Morocco; and the households migrants have left. The study took place in Fes, Morocco.
The research was largely motivated by an observation of a tendency towards greater complexity of the migratory phenomenon. The study objectives included an attempt to redefine mobility and its various forms; observation of articulations between different forms of migration (eg. international and internal; Moroccan and sub-Saharan); study of transnationalism between migrants and their families; and scrutiny of the impacts of migrations on the sending regions, and relationships between mobility and identity.
Overview of migration in Morocco
Since the 1960s, Morocco has evolved into one of prime source countries of labour migrants to Europe. Increasing immigration restrictions in Europe did little to stop migration, and have rather led to an increasingly irregular character of migration and the exploration of new destinations beyond the traditional destinations in France and the Benelux.
Since 1990, Moroccan low skilled emigration has increasingly focused on Italy and Spain, while the higher skilled increasingly migrate to the US and Canada. Over 3 million people of Moroccan descent (out of a total population of 30 million) are currently believed to live abroad. Receiving an estimated $5.2 billion in remittances in 2006, Morocco was the largest remittance receiver in Africa.
After 1995, Morocco has also evolved into a transit country for migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa. Although many of them attempt to cross to Europe, those failing or not venturing to enter Europe prefer to stay in Morocco as a second-best option rather than to return to their more unstable, unsafe, and substantially poorer home countries. Their presence confronts Moroccan society with an entirely new set of social and legal issues typical for immigration countries, issues that do not yet resonate with Morocco’s self-image as an emigration country.