The aim of this short briefing paper is to set the scene by outlining the prevailing legal, policy and practical response to irregular migration in Morocco, including the governmental response, EU and international responses, and how some gaps are being filled by civil society.

In particular, this briefing discusses how the changing pattern of sub-Saharan migration in Morocco has led to a gradual shift in governmental and civil responses from dealing with irregular migration on a 'transit' basis to considering it on a semi-permanent or even permanent basis.

The Maghreb (particularly Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) has historically been viewed as a source of emigration, but significant attention more recently has been devoted to the region as a transit zone for migrants from elsewhere whose ultimate destination is the European Union.

However, periods of migration described as 'transit' have been getting longer and longer, and anecdotal evidence that migrants are reaching Morocco with the intention of staying is increasing. Even in small numbers, irregular immigration is starting to change Morocco. Along the way, it is posing challenges to policymakers, requiring developments in the rights accorded even to those who lack proper documentation and immigration status.

This paper supports a seminar in Rabat focusing on improving civil society organisations' strategies to support irregular migrants in Morocco, organised by IPPR together with its Moroccan partner CCME and Brussels-based partner PICUM.