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Colgate University

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Morocco: Migration and Transnational Identity


EU’s closing borders are impeding a fifty-year pattern of Moroccan migration to southern Europe to find work, prosper and provide for their families back home. Moroccan NGOs, as well as the Spanish and Italian governments, have recently invested in rural development initiatives aimed at increasing employment opportunities in Morocco and deterring workers from migrating. Yet Moroccans keep risking their lives and continue to migrate illegally every day as these initiatives are proving to be ineffective. This study examines the current conditions for Moroccan migrant workers amidst tightening European Union borders and a narrowing European frontier for employment. The Eurozone financial crisis, as well as right-wing anti-immigrant politics, has made it increasingly difficult for Moroccans to migrate to Europe to find employment. Young Moroccan migrants without visas and working papers are therefore forced to enter Europe illegally, and often dangerously, in search of work. Furthermore, while migrants who hold proper documentation are able to migrate freely, they are faced with a weak European job market and dwindling wages. This study further aims to explore the particular motivations of Moroccan migrant workers and determine whether or not domestic development initiatives will ever satisfy these motivations. The results show that rural development projects are not effective in stopping migration from Morocco to Europe, although they do aid in providing means and opportunities for Moroccans who chose not to migrate. This outcome is relevant to the Moroccan government, receiving EU countries, private investors and developers, as well as the rural Moroccan population; it can be used as a model for the Western Mediterranean region to better adapt and grow to meet the challenge of closing borders and economic recession.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Growth and Development | Human Geography | Rural Sociology


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