A total of 9,756 persons were admitted to Morocco as refugees and asylees in 2019, a 25 pc increase compared with the previous year, according to latest figures released by the Moroccan national statistics agency (HCP).
By the end of December 2019, the North African Kingdom received 6,656 refugees. 38 pc of these refugees are women and 33.6 pc are children.
The Syrians top the list of refugees admitted during this period, totaling 3,676 persons. They are followed by the Yemenis (843), the nationals from Central Africa Republic (560) and Côte d’Ivoiret (335). The other refugees are from Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Sudan, Congo and Senegal.
About 92 pc of the processed refugees and asylum applicants in Morocco are from the African continent. In 2019, 3,100 people applied for asylum in the country. The majority of the applicants are from the Republic of Guinea Conakry (732), Cameroon (687) and Côte d’Ivoire (457).
According to the survey conducted by the High Planning Commission, Morocco’s capital city of Rabat hosts the majority of refugees (1,151), followed by Casablanca (782) and Oujda (591).
Morocco’s human rights-oriented migration policy has been acclaimed worldwide. The country has regularized the situation of over 50,000 migrants, in two campaigns, providing them protection and assistance as well as access to health care and education services, including professional and vocational training.
In 2013, Morocco introduced a National Immigration and Asylum Policy (PNIA). The policy enables refugees to access essential services, such as education, health care, and employment.
UNHCR, in collaboration with Moroccan authorities and civil society, aims to financially support 2,000 vulnerable refugee families and help 500 refugees establish their own businesses in Morocco by 2020.
Morocco is also a destination for sub-Saharan African migrants, who either remain in the country or use it as a gateway to Europe.
A 2019 study revealed that around 700,000 sub-Saharan African migrants live in Morocco.
The US State Department has commended the “exceptional regularization of persons in irregular situation” in Morocco under the 2016 migrant regularization program, saying “the government continued to grant status to UNHCR-recognized refugees, temporary status to registered Syrians, and regularized migrant status to qualifying applicants under the migrant regularization program’.