Addressing the House of Advisors, the official explained that priority will be given to Moroccan nationals living in the south of Spain, particularly Algeciras, before including Catalonia, the Basque Country and capital Madrid.
The repatriation operation will subsequently be extended to Turkey, France, the Gulf countries and African countries in strict compliance with health measures, he added.
The Moroccan minister elaborated that the repatriation will first prioritize Moroccans who went abroad on short tourist visas, as well as those who are in a precarious financial situation or suffer from serious health conditions.
He said the operation will not cover those who left the country to seek permanent residency or employment abroad.
Bourita said preparations are under way for the return of Moroccans stranded in these countries because of the measures adopted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a well-defined schedule.
The Moroccan authorities are committed to carrying out the repatriation of these citizens according to a global and responsible approach reconciling their guaranteed right to return, the requirements of the epidemiological situation and the pressing need to provide care for the repatriated nationals and support them in the best conditions.
Bourita also pointed out that, unlike other countries, Morocco will bear all the costs related to the repatriation operations. The high cost of repatriation flights has left many people stranded across the world in spite of their countries’ allowance for repatriations, a barrier Morocco is acting to prevent.
The minister recalled that Moroccan embassies and consulates have provided financial assistance to over 6,358 Moroccans stranded abroad, as well as medical, administrative, and legal support.
So far, Morocco has only repatriated nationals stranded in the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and in Algeria.
The country estimated the total number of Moroccans stranded abroad at more than 32,000 people.