Magharebia (Washington DC)

5 March 2013

Morocco: Young Moroccans Intend to Emigrate

Rabat — Young people in Morocco are tempted by the idea of emigrating to improve their situation, one study says.

A new study revealed that 42% of Moroccans would like to live abroad. And the intention to emigrate is greatest among young people.

The findings emerged from a study conducted by the Moroccan Migration Research Association.

According to the February 26th report, the desire to emigrate is the same regardless of education, but the propensity or potential to migrate is higher among people with an average or higher than average level of education.

"Unemployment encourages emigration to some extent," but migration does not involve only the poorest levels of society or the unemployed, the survey said.

The survey revealed that the difficulty of finding a job is the most frequent reason for people with a poor level of education to want to leave.

A number of young people contacted by Magharebia shared their desire to settle abroad.

Hicham Bourebbah, 28, graduated in accounting six years ago and has struggled to find stable employment.

"I know Europe is in crisis. But I have no more hope for life here in Morocco. I want to explore other lands and start to get somewhere," he said.

Like Hicham, 25-year-old business management graduate Noura Cherrafi wants to try her chances abroad and climb out of the abyss of unemployment.

"For three years I've done nothing but training courses and I've never had a job. I'm depressed. My family wants to marry me off," she said.

"But I want to work and be financially independent. I'm struggling to make my dreams come true in Morocco, so now I'm thinking of emigrating to France," she said.

This desire is evident just at a time when a number of expatriates are returning to Morocco because of the repercussions of the economic crisis for them.

The survey conducted for the European Training Foundation also looked at returning migrants. More than two-thirds of them built up some savings during their time abroad. Those savings were most often used to buy property.

One-third of returning migrants are thinking of emigrating again. Only 5% decided to return and invest.

The skills acquired during migration are not sufficiently exploited after returning home, which represents a loss of earnings for the migrant, Morocco and the host country, European Training Foundation Director Madlen Serban said.

Aware of the difficulties encountered by Moroccan expatriates (MREs), the government on February 27th set up programme was to encourage investment from among the MRE community.

An expatriate who wants to invest in Morocco can enjoy a state subsidy of up to 10% of the project's value, and a bank loan of up to 65%. They can also benefit from the support even if they are investing in partnership with a Moroccan-based or a foreign investor.

"This is a huge opportunity," expat Wafaa Farhat said. She returned to Morocco from France in 2010 to set up a school specialising in health engineering.

"I was able to set up my project thanks to financial backing by the state," she said.

The delegate-minister with responsibility for MREs, Abdellatif Maâzouz, is encouraging them to convert their savings into beneficial investment.

That investment back home could lead to the creation of jobs and wealth, an increase in the production of goods and services, and contribute to regional and national development.

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