This report explores the current policy response to recent growth in irregular 'transit' migration in Morocco and the opportunities for a more sustainable approach to migration management in the country.

Morocco, like many of its neighbours in the Maghreb, has long been a country of emigration. However, what is new is Morocco's transformation into a country of transit and a destination in its own right for irregular migrants from the sub-Saharan region.

The tightening of European border controls and the cost of migrating to other countries overland has meant that much of this transit migration has in practice taken on an extended, even semi-permanent character. Many of Morocco's 'transit' migrants, even those who regard their journey as incomplete, find themselves in the country for years. Nevertheless, the notion of transit migration is pervasive in policy discussions and contributes to the absence of long-term, sustainable solutions to the challenge of managing Morocco's irregular migrant population.

This report - available in English and French - reviews the drivers of irregular migration in Morocco, the experiences of irregular migrants on their way to Morocco and once they arrive, and their future plans.

It provides a range of recommendations for policy change, both within Morocco - for example to improve inter-agency coordination and the options available for 'bridging visas' and voluntary return support - and internationally, focused again on cross-border collobration and on the recognition of and support for Morocco as an equal partner in the wider region, including Europe.

  • This report has also been published in French as Le mythe du transit: La migration subsaharienne au Maroc
  • A companion report addresses returns policy in Morocco.