Since the 1960s, Morocco has evolved into one of the world's leading emigration countries. Immigration restrictions in Europe did not stop migration, but rather pushed Moroccan migrants into permanent settlement, prompting large-scale family reunification. Morocco is also becoming a destination country for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and, to some extent, crisis-hit European countries. The growing presence of immigrants confronts Moroccan society with an entirely new set of social and legal issues typical for immigration countries, which do not yet resonate with Morocco's self-image as an emigration country. These changing realities prompted the Moroccan government to announce a new migration policy in 2013, as Hein de Haas explores in this country profile. The article draws on unique new data from IMI's DEMIG project, to provide an overview of the evolution of historical and more recent migration patterns from and towards Morocco, and how evolutions in migration can be explained from broader processes of social, economic, and political change occurring in Morocco and Europe. It also analyses the unintended role that increasing European immigration restrictions have played in reinforcing the permanent character of Moroccan migration, as well as recent policy developments.
Migration Policy Institute