Sub-Saharan Migration in Transit Countries: The Case of Morocco

Fouzi Mourji, Claire Ricard and Macoura Doumbia


International migration involves people or groups of people who leave their country in order to settle temporarily or permanently in another country.

Since the origin of mankind, people have moved in search of better living conditions. Currently, migratory movements affect all countries. Thus, according to United Nations statistics, the number of international migrants is estimated at 272 million in 2019 with an upward trend, an increase of 51 million since 2010 (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division [2019]). International migrants are estimated at 3.5% of the world population, compared to 2.8% in 2000. Moreover, most of these migrants move between countries in the same region. Indeed, the majority of international migrants from sub-Saharan Africa (89%), East and South-East Asia (83%), Latin America and the Caribbean (73%), and Central and South Asia (63%) originated from the region in which they resided. In contrast, international migrants living in North America (98%), Oceania (88%), and North Africa and Western Asia (59%) were born outside their region of residence. Taking the case of Morocco, the number of sub-Saharan migrants is estimated at 700,000 in 2019 (Driss El Ghazouani, 2019). The migratory flows from sub-Saharan Africa (hereinafter SSA) to the countries of North Africa began to intensify in the early 1990s and became significant during the following decade (Bredeloup & Pliez, 2005).

The case of Morocco is interesting because until 2008, it was mainly a country of transit for migrants whose objective was to reach Europe. But due to the economic crisis affecting those countries and also the increasingly difficult conditions of access, many migrants abandoned that objective and decided to remain permanently in Morocco. Accordingly, after having been only a country of departure, then one of departure and transit, it became equally a country of settlement.

The object of this chapter is to analyse the characteristics and behaviour of the SSA migrant population in Morocco. We base this on data from a survey conducted between October 2015 and January 2016, with 877 male and female migrants:2 (a) in Casablanca-Mohamedia, an urban area that is inherently attractive for the employment possibilities it offers;[1] (b) in Rabat-Sale, which although to a lesser extent offers comparable opportunities; and c) in Tangiers, which is a transit city par excellence, lying only 15 kilometres from the European coast and thus attracts the most determined candidates.

The first section examines the social and occupational integration of this population in Morocco. These questions are crucial because, on the one hand, they embody the main reason impelling migrants to undertake this adventure: a search for better living conditions, facilitated by access to a job. Thus, apart from migrants’ relations with the Moroccan population, we test the hypothesis of an eventual downgrading of migrants on the Moroccan labour market. More precisely, does being a migrant increase one’s propensity to occupy a job whose required qualification is inferior to that corresponding to his/her education level? We treat this question via a triple analysis: determinants of the downgrading of qualifications by comparison with those affecting Moroccans, and finally by comparison with the migrants’ situation in their countries of departure. The findings of this section make it possible to understand the variations to which migrants’ aspirations are subject.

Finally, we look at the interdependence between the social integration of migrants and their integration on the labour market.

Entry of SSA migrants onto Morocco’s labour market: questions of downgrading and meeting requirements

We study here the quality of migrants’ entry into the Moroccan labour market. Given problems of under-employment and downgrading on the market, we examine first why the migrant’s entry onto the labour market deteriorates following his/her migration. Secondly, we look at the downgrading of migrants, comparing the reasons for downgrading of both migrants and Moroccans. Our findings show that the length of residence, the migrant’s origin, level of education, and place of residence influence the level of his/her entry. Comparison of the degree of downgrading of the two populations displays reasons for downgrading peculiar to Moroccans and other reasons specific to migrants.

As noted above, until 2008 Morocco was mainly a transit country for SSA migrants seeking to reach Europe. But faced with increasingly difficult conditions of access, more and more migrants have abandoned that goal and decided to remain permanently in Morocco, hoping for the best possible entry here.

The success of these migrants in Morocco depends largely on the quality of their entry onto the labour market. On the other hand, at first view the Moroccan labour market does not seem to facilitate entry, given problems of downgrading and under-employment due to three market characteristics. According to the Haut Commissariat au Plan (2018), (Full report on the

Sub-Saharan migration in transit countries 273 adequacy of employment and training on the Moroccan labour market), the labour market is characterized by a lack of inclusion due to insufficient integration of young people and women. It turns out that only 23.6% of women participate in the labour market Mourji (2017) explains the reasons for this low rate).

Also, the labour market is characterized by slow creation of jobs, below the rate of growth of the working-age population. In 2017, the Moroccan labour market displayed 4.2% growth of unemployment, against 0.8% job growth. The third characteristic is the precarious quality of jobs and preponderance of the informal sector. This is shown by workers’ affiliation or lack thereof of social security. In 2015, close to 80% of the active population worked informally. This implies general precariousness on the Moroccan labour market.

Several empirical studies have looked at the determinants of migrants’ job entry. For example, Dumont and Monso (2007) finds that immigrants’ rate of employment is inferior to that of natives in many OECD member countries. She finds many reasons for this. The first is the level of education. However this represents only a small part of the difference in employment rates between the two populations. The second reason might be the level of qualification. Although higher qualifications favour better access to the labour market, employment rates between immigrants and natives are different practically in all OECD countries. These studies (Dumont and Liebig, 2005; Dumont and Monso, 2007) thus conclude that education levels have only a small impact on immigrants’ entry to the labour market in the host country. Moreover, findings of another study (Battu and Sloane, 2002) explain immigrants’ high exposure to downgrading because of the obstacles of recognition of diplomas obtained outside the host country. For example, in the Shanghai’s classification, the value of a master’s degree changes between countries. Accordingly, if universities in the migrant’s home country are less highly regarded, and he/ she moves to a country with better universities, his/her diploma will automatically not be as highly regarded as that of a native. In this context, Friedberg (2000) compares the returns to human capital in Israel and abroad. He finds that returns to human capital obtained abroad are inferior to those acquired in Israel. Returns to national education are estimated at 8.8%, while those to education abroad are estimated at 7.6%. Friedberg explains this gap by the low value placed on immigrants’ human capital. Accordingly, we imagine that a migrant’s country of origin may act negatively on his/her integration in the host country’s labour market. It is important to mention that, according to Dumont and Monso’s (2007) study, recent immigrants fall among the persons most affected by downgrading. According to a survey of the rate of downgrading of persons born abroad as a function of their period of stay, the data show the rate declining with the length of residence (Survey of European Union Labor Forces, 2003—2004). However, it must not be forgotten that length of stay may mask cohort effects in terms of the level of education and country of origin. Thanks to Massey et al. (1994), we know that emigration from a country takes place in waves. At first it is those who are betteroff and most educated who migrate. Subsequently, migration is democratized and less qualified individuals arrive on the host country labour market. This phenomenon arises in the absence of a policy of‘select migration’ in the receiving country. In that case, different cohorts tend not to be downgraded because they have been chosen to enter the labour market. If despite select immigration and long presence in the host country migrants are still downgraded, it is because there were hidden factors causing a discrepancy between training and employment. As a result, length of stay plays a key role in downgrading migrants.

Moreover, Dumont and Monso (2007) mentions that the lack of specific skills in the host country increases downgrading of migrants. These skills may be acquired by comprehension of the host country’s language. Such comprehension may reduce downgrading because it allows migrants to develop their skills on the labour market.

In this context we pose the following question: what is the level of job entry of SSA migrants in Morocco, and what are its determinants?

We will use data from a survey carried out by Laboratoire de Statistique Appliquée à l’Analyse et la Recherche en Economie (LASAARE) between September and December 2015 on the topic, « characteristics, aspirations and behavior of immigrants in Morocco ». The questionnaires were administered to 1,453 migrants in Casablanca, Salé, Mohammedia, Rabat and Tangiers. It should be noted that, to our knowledge, this study is the first one to examine the job entry of sub-Saharan migrants to Morocco, especially by making a comparison with the entry of natives.

To begin with, the study will examine causes of deterioration of the migrants’ activity. A second part will analyse the downgrading of migrants in comparison with that experienced by Moroccans.

Deterioration of the type of activity

In this study we are interested in the deterioration of the migrant’s activity. We look at if the migrant was occupied in his/her country of origin and has become unemployed in Morocco. This variable will allow us to appreciate the migrant’s job in Morocco relatively to the one he had in the host country. It is a dichotomous variable, taking the value 1 if the migrant has experienced deterioration of his/her activity and 0 if not. Analysis of this variable shows that 64.88% of migrants have seen their job situation deteriorate after arriving in Morocco.

Regarding migrants’ activity in their country of origin, more than half (58.70%) were employed, while 29.28% were still studying in their country of origin. Among these, only 7.6% were unemployed. The high percentage of migrants employed in their country of origin (close to 59%) is directly connected with the foregoing argument that the first condition for emigration is ability to raise money. Regarding policies that could be implemented to influence the behaviour of candidates for emigration, one aspect to consider is

Sub-Saharan migration in transit countries 275 working conditions and its evaluation in the countries of departure. Moreover, analysis of migrants’ occupational status in their country of origin shows that 51.33% were self-employed. In other words, half were entrepreneurs, owners of their means of production and self-employed. Migrants describing themselves as wage-paid represent only 16.14% of the migrant population.

The migrant’s length of residence seems to reduce significantly the probability of job deterioration (Table A.l, Appendix 1). The longer the migrant lives in Morocco, the more he increases his/her chances of not being either unemployed or a beggar. The table shows that one additional year of residence in Morocco diminishes the risk ofjob deterioration from 3.1 to 3.3%.

Integration into the Moroccan labour market

This section focuses on the determinants of the occupational integration of migrants. Here the status of the migrant is taken into account. We want to know whether the migrant has experienced an improvement in his or her professional situation by going on the Moroccan labour market. First, the idea is to study the determinants of the professional integration of migrants.

Analysis of findings

This section aims to find out whether the migrant is more likely to be professionally integrated in Morocco than in his/her country of origin. This will thus enable us to find the determinants that facilitate the professional integration of the migrant in Morocco. Results of the study can be found in Table A.2 (Appendix 2). To be specific, we are interested only in the professional integration of migrants who were unemployed in their country of origin.

The first factor influencing the integration of sub-Saharans in Morocco is gender. Its influence is quite significant (10%). Indeed, the fact of being a woman increases the probability between 23.4% and 24.1% that a female migrant who is unemployed in her country of origin is an employed worker in Morocco compared to an unemployed male migrant in his/her country of origin. This can be explained by the ease of integration into the labour market of female migrants who have more job opportunities in sectors which are gendered and still employ more female than male such as home care services and catering. For instance, Moroccan families prefer to hire sub-Saharan women from French-speaking countries as domestic helpers so that they can teach their children French.

Moreover, the level of education approximated by the number of years of study positively influences the probability of professional integration of sub-Saharan women in Morocco. Indeed, completing an additional year of study increases (between 4.8% and 10%) the probability that an unemployed person in his/her country of origin is an employed worker in Morocco. The higher the level of education, the better it gives a good signal about the migrant’s qualifications and skills. Therefore, a migrant with a high level ofeducation has a great facility to integrate professionally into the Moroccan labour market.

Residence status has a significant negative marginal effect (between 32.5% and 33.6%) on the probability of an unemployed person having a job once in Morocco. Indeed, a migrant in transit has a limited duration of stay that does not allow him/her to integrate into the labour market. Moreover, it is important to note that transit migrants who already have the necessary financial means will not spend their time looking for a job.

The determinants of the integration of sub-Saharans migrants who were unemployed in their country of origin are gender, education level, and residence status.

The quality of integration: explaining the downgrading of sub-

Saharan migrants in Morocco

The literature on downgrading generally distinguishes between a so-called ‘horizontal’ downgrading and a so-called ‘vertical’ downgrading. The first type refers to the mismatch between an individual’s field of study and employment, while the second is defined by the notion of overeducation, i.e. working in a job that requires a lower level of education than the individual possesses.

In order to complete Section titled ‘Social integration of SSA migrants in Morocco’ of the study, we are interested in the quality of the professional integration of migrants. We are interested only in horizontal downgrading as measured by the level of adequacy between the training and the job held by the migrant.

Analysis of findings

Beyond unemployment, ‘downgrading’ can be another form of underutilization of human skills on the labour market. It is the result of the poor match between training and employment. We decided to measure the level of downgrading of migrants on the Moroccan labour market based on the level of adequacy between training and the job held by the migrant. From our results (Table A.3, Appendix 3), after applying an ordered logit model, some interesting elements emerge that could determine the level of downgrading of this part of the labour force in Morocco.

The study reveals that the length of residence of the migrant increases the probability of perfect adequacy between 1.6% and 2.3%. A migrant who has lived in Morocco for an additional year has a higher chance of having a job that is a perfect match for his or her education (estimated between 1.6% and 2.3%). This would be explained by the fact that the longer the migrant resides in Morocco, the more time he or she has to build up a reliable professional network that would allow him or her to have information on job opportunities that are more in line with his or her qualifications.

Moreover, the second factor influencing the quality of professional integration is the level of education approximated by the number of years of study. A migrant who has completed an additional year of education has between 3.7% and 4.5% higher chance of not being downgraded. This shows that the level of education has an enormous impact on the downgrading of sub-Saharan Africans in Morocco. The level of education gives employers an idea of the migrant’s actual skills. Moreover, diplomas gives a signal on the skills of the job seeker. Indeed, according to the signal theory (Spence, 1973), diplomas, representing the level of education, are considered as a method of selection on the labour market. The diploma obtained allows employers to have an idea of the migrant’s qualifications.

Moreover, residence status impacts the quality of integration into the labour market. Choosing Morocco as a transit country and not as a country of residence significantly reduces the probability of a perfect match (models 4 and 5 in Table A.3 in Appendix 3). Indeed, migrants in transit are between 13.3% and 14.2% less likely to have a perfectly matched job compared to a resident migrant. For a temporary migrant it might be preferable to have a job that is not a good match for her/his skills, rather than devoting time to having her/his skills recognized in a country that is not her/his final destination. Therefore, they are encouraged to accept all job opportunities that are presented to them, even those that do not match their training. The objective of this type of migrant is to have the maximum income before departure, even if this would imply a downgrading.

Finally, the migrant’s place of residence affects the downgrading of the migrant. Living in the periphery reduces the probability of adequacy and therefore increases the probability of downgrading. Its marginal effect is strongly significant at 1%. A migrant who lives in the periphery is 42.7% less likely to have a job that is perfectly suited to his or her training compared to a migrant who lives in the city centre (model 5 in Table A.3 in the appendix). Proximity to the labour market reduces the informational asymmetry regarding available job opportunities. Also, it would be difficult for the migrant to find a job on the periphery since most of the tertiary sector activities are located in the city centre. However, this result is to be considered with caution. It is important to note that there may be an endogeneity bias following the use of this variable. This bias is due to the problem of reverse causality. Living in the periphery could cause a mismatch between the migrant’s employment and training. A downgrading could also be the reason why the migrant chooses to live in the periphery because housing is cheaper there compared to the city centre. In this case, the downgrading could create a loss of income for the migrant who would be forced to live on the periphery for lack of financial means.

This study shows thus that the main determinants of migrant downgrading are length of residence, place of residence, level of education, and being a transit migrant.

Comparative study of the downgrading of SSA and Moroccan migrants

In a parallel study, Kabboul and Eddari (2018) analysed why Moroccans face downgrading.

In their sample, 36.11% of active Moroccan diploma holders suffer from downgrading, against 73.68% for migrants with university degrees. In other words, migrants suffer more from downgrading than natives.

We push forward this analysis by comparing the reasons why Moroccans are downgraded with those affecting migrants. To begin with, gender has no influence on downgrading of either Moroccans or migrants. In other words, gender is not a cause of downgrading of the active population on the Moroccan labour market.

The study also finds that residential location does influence the probability of Moroccans being downgraded. Those living in rural areas run a higher risk of downgrading than urban dwellers. The latter have a better chance of finding jobs in urban areas that correspond to their diplomas. This corresponds to what we found with migrants. It seems that downgrading has some common causes for both Moroccans and migrants.

Moreover, length of holding a job reduces a Moroccan’s risk of downgrading. According to Glaude and Jarousse (1988), poor matching, which can be a cause of downgrading, disappears after a certain period. Thus, the longer an individual holds a job, the better the chance that it will eventually match his/her skills. We also found that migrants residing longer in Morocco have a lower risk of downgrading. Given the connection between the migrant’s length of residence and length of holding his/her job, duration is clearly a relevant variable in explaining downgrading for either population.

In summary, some causes of downgrading on the Moroccan labour market affect both natives and migrants. Those peculiar to migration include where the migrant obtained his/her diploma, and whether he/she is in transit. In any case, SSA migrants have suffered more downgrading than Moroccans. These additional difficulties are connected with certain forms of discrimination that migrants may face upon recruitment. Accordingly, in the following section we look at the social integration of SSA migrants in Morocco. We build on the hypothesis that social integration and integration on the job market are interdependent. A migrant who is well integrated socially probably has a better chance of finding a job. Likewise, a migrant who is working may well find it easier to integrate in the Moroccan population.

Social integration of SSA migrants in Morocco

The previous section highlighted that Moroccans and migrants from SSA face difficulties in integrating properly into the labour market. Migrants from SSA seem to face greater difficulties, notably because of the discrimination they face. According to LASAAKE’s survey in Casablanca regarding Moroccans’ perception of migrants from SSA, 72.02% of respondents think

Sub-Saharan migration in transit countries 279 that migrants face discrimination in hiring. This tendency holds as well with migrants,3 84.04% of whom believe they face discrimination. Moreover, 36.84% of Moroccan employers and independents report having refused a position to an SSA migrant.

Discrimination against SSA migrants in Morocco is present not only on the labour market. Even though 55.56% of Moroccans would be willing to join an association that supports migrants and 61.13% are favourable to a directive designed to regularize migrants’ administrative situation, Moroccans and migrants agree in saying that, on average, SSA migrants are less well treated in Morocco. Of Moroccans surveyed, 68.78%, against 86.96% of migrants, stated that migrants in general are less well treated than locals. Thus, only 26.91% of migrants feel themselves integrated in Morocco, while few Moroccans think that a majority of migrants are excluded.

We would like to understand why migrants from SSA are so poorly integrated into Moroccan society. In order to measure the openness of one of the communities to the other, we use two questions from the questionnaires administered to migrants and Moroccans, in the surveys conducted by LA-SAARE. In each questionnaire, one question is asked about the respondent’s opinion about marriage between members of the two communities,4 and another question about having close friends within the other group.'5 Regarding marriage between Moroccans and migrants from SSA, 45.95% of Moroccans disapprove while 44.36% of migrants approve. Thus, migrants seem to be relatively ready to integrate, but Moroccans give less the impression of wanting to mix the communities. Another question asked to both populations may be interpreted as an indicator of more or less significant tolerance: »Have you rubbed shoulders with migrants from SSA? »/ « Do you frequently associate with Moroccans? (Often, moderately, never) ». We also use a variable indicating whether Moroccans think migrants are useful or not to the country’s economy to measure their degree of openness to migrants.

Drawing on the literature on the integration of migrants in host societies, we hypothesize that the social integration of migrants is closely linked to their integration into the labour market. Indeed, according to Mayda (2004), people who feel they are competing with migrants on the labour market may tend more towards a negative view of immigration.

On the other hand, by working together, the two communities can get to know each other better. Voci and Hewstone (2003) and Van Oudenhoven et al. (1998) stipulate that negative attitudes of one group towards another are caused by lack of knowledge about that group. Thus, Dubourg and Souk-Aloun (2016) have found that more information would significantly improve Moroccans’ perception of migrants. The cost of information is lower when one shares social, demographic, and cultural characteristics with someone. That is the similarity attraction hypothesis of Byrne (1971).

We therefore first look at to what extent the situation of Moroccans on the labour market influences their degree of tolerance towards migrants from SSA. Second, we will observe whether Moroccans and SSA migrants arepresent in the same segments of the labour market. If this is the case, this could possibly explain the distrust some Moroccans may have towards SSA migrants.

Situation on the labour market and tolerance towards migrants

Close to half of Moroccans consider that the arrival of SSA migrants has a negative impact on Morocco. Three-quarters of these justify their response on economic grounds: migrants increase Moroccans’ unemployment. The 34.34% who think migrants are useful to Morocco give as their main reason the creation of wealth thanks to increased manpower.6 Here too the justification is economic. It is thus interesting to check the responses as a function of the respondents’ activity.

Applying a Chi2 test of independence to the interdependence of variables arising from the questions « Do you think the coming of people from SSA is ... » and « The situation in your profession », it turns out that the relation between the two variables is not significant (Chi2(12) = 14.23; p = 0.286). The relation between the respondent’s area of activity and his/her opinion on migrants’ usefulness to Morocco is also not significant (Chi2(22) = 29.5062; p = 0.131). Thus, the situation in the profession and the area of activity have no effect on one’s thinking whether or not migrants are ‘useful’ to Morocco.

We apply the same method to interdependence of the following variables: « Increased unemployment » (separating people having responded that migrants have a negative impact on Morocco because they increase Moroccan unemployment, from those having cited other reasons to support a negative impact), and « Situation in the profession », we once again find no significant connection (Chi2(6) = 2.6359; p = 0.853). The same occurs when we use the branch of activity where the Moroccan respondent works: the Chi2(ll) rises to 7.7813 and the p-value to 0.733. Thus, the situation in the profession and branch of activity of Moroccans does not seem to influence their degree of openness towards SSA migrants. Nevertheless, tolerance7 on the part of both migrants and Moroccans is closely tied to the type of activity. Among Moroccans, students are the most tolerant, while those not working and in retirement are the least tolerant. Among migrants, students are the most tolerant, while inactive and unemployed people are least tolerant.

According to our multivariate analysis, seasonality of activity influences tolerance towards migrants. The Moroccan respondent may blame migrants for his/her precarious situation when his/her work’s seasonality leads him to have a lower opportunity to associate with them, thus lessening the probability of making friends. Moreover, an individual holding a seasonal job will more likely not favour a mixed marriage than a Moroccan holding a stable job. The individual’s precarious situation may be perceived as the result of immigration. A seasonal worker may also feel himself more threatened by migrants who are content with a short-term job when Morocco figures only as a transit country.

Since unemployment and seasonality of employment degrade the mutual tolerance between Moroccans and migrants from SSA in Morocco, it is conceivable that individuals facing issues to enter the labour market may blame the other community for their difficulties. In the next section, we then observe whether SSA migrants and Moroccans are indeed competing in the labour market.

Competition on the labour market

We are interested in knowing whether migrants and Moroccans are competing on the labour market. On the one hand, if Moroccans and migrants are present in the same segments of the labour market, then they can be brought together and develop friendships (Voci & Hewstone, 2003; Van Oudenhoven et al., 1998). On the other hand, Moroccans may feel that they are in competition with migrants if they are applying for the same types of jobs (Esses et al., 2002; Mayda, 2004).

Upon introducing, into a multivariate analysis of the determinants of Moroccans’ tolerance, the variable indicating whether they are informed about migrants, it turns out that having such information makes Moroccans more tolerant by reducing prejudice. Moreover, this variable is quite robust since tests have proven that it is not endogenous. Thus, having information about migrants makes it possible to accept them as friends or at least associate with them. It also causes greater openness towards mixed marriage. In other words, information asymmetry is an important factor and has a cost with regard to tolerance. It is less costly to integrate migrants in one’s environment if one knows their culture, their way of life, and the conditions of migration. By rubbing shoulders on the labour market, migrants and Moroccans could then accept each other more easily. However, our data suggest that SSA migrants and Moroccans are rarely present in the same segments of the labour market.

The majority of Moroccans surveyed describe themselves as wage-earners (53.05%), but are in competition with only 17.60% of migrants surveyed. Most of the latter belong to the category ‘self-employed’ (41.02%), which represents only 18.31% of Moroccans surveyed. The heaviest competition occurs between Moroccans and migrants who have never attended school and do not describe themselves as wage-earners.

Looking at the sector of activity, competition between Moroccans and migrants is more nuanced. For example, 54.4% of migrants work in the services sector, against 46.93% of Moroccans. Since these two proportions are close, it might seem that migrants and Moroccans have a strong chance of competing on this labour market. However, the largest share of migrants (37.39%) work in the informal service sector, while Moroccans are more present in the formal service sector (37.28%). This formal/informal dichotomy is particularly present in commerce. It is especially in informal industry and crafts that competition is the most important, since about 3% of the two populations are present there.

Thus, according to the models presented by Mayda (2004), Moroccans working in industry and crafts should be the most resistant to the arrival of migrants since they are the ones that would suffer the most from competition. However, as a rule, competition between migrants and Moroccans on the labour market is not very noticeable. According to our data, the two population are not found in the same segments of the labour market.

Finally, economic variables may explain opinions on the question of marriage between SSA migrants and Moroccans. Thus, the precarious nature of one’s job has an influence on Moroccans’ opinion on mixed marriage. In this case, Moroccans may feel threatened by the presence of SSA migrants in the labour market, even though our data indicate that the two populations are not present in the same market segments. There are also non-economic characteristics that determine the openness of Moroccans to SSA migrants. Moroccans are more or less friends with migrants as a function of their age, gender, their perception of migrants, information they have about them, and the presence or not of migrants in their neighbourhood.

General conclusion

In Section titled ‘Entry of SSA migrants onto Morocco’s labour market: questions of downgrading and meeting requirements’, the analysis of the Moroccan labour market identified the risk of under-employment in the kingdom as well as the reasons for under-employment of SSA migrants.

Several variables explain the level of SSA migrants’job integration in Morocco. Length of residence, the migrant’s origin, level of education, gender, understanding of darija, and status as a refugee determine the level of downgrading of the type of occupation following migration. Except for the level of education, these variables all relate specifically to migration. Some of them decrease the risk of downgrading (length of residence, level of education, being female, speaking darija, and originating from a francophone country), while others increase it (living with Moroccans or being a refugee).

Variables such as length and place of residence, place of obtaining a diploma, and being a migrant in transit in Morocco determine the level of downgrading in Morocco, in particular for migrants holding a diploma. With regard to the professional downgrading of migrants, there are several factors.

In addition to these findings, comparison of the level of downgrading of the two populations show interesting patterns. First, our results show that migrants have a higher likelihood to be downgraded than Moroccans. Second, we have found that factors such as place and length of residence are common determinants of the probability of being downgraded to both populations. However, determinants specific to migrants are the country where the diploma was obtained, and the fact of being in transit.

The study shows that both migrants and Moroccans suffer downgrading on the labour market. One of Morocco’s greatest challenges is thus to better integrate university graduates into the labour market. To this end, a new national employment strategy was launched in 2015 and should last until 2025.

Migrants’ human capital would be a major asset for the Moroccan economy if it manages to absorb it into productive employment. However, migrants seem to encounter more difficulties than Moroccans in integrating themselves in the labour market. These additional difficulties may be connected to certain forms of discrimination which migrants face during the recruitment process.

To explain this discrimination, Section titled ‘Social integration of SSA migrants in Morocco’ looked at the determinants of tolerance of both Moroccans and migrants. Our findings indicate that the situation on the labour market does not influence tolerance on the part of either population. In other words, few individuals attribute their labour market problems to individuals of the other community. It is more the socio-demographic characteristics of the two populations that influence their level of tolerance towards the other one. The UNDP’s 2009 Human Development Report reached the same conclusions while looking at a global scale. Subsequently, to better integrate SSA migrants in the Moroccan population, it is necessary to promote contacts between the two populations, especially at the neighbourhood level. This will allow exchanging more information from one community to the other reduce information asymmetry between the two groups which will increase their tolerance levels, respectively.

This chapter on integration of migrants in transit countries is particularly related to SDG 8 relative to decent work and economic growth and SDG 10, reduce inequalities. A better integration of migrants into the labour market of transit and host countries means a better access to good jobs and an opportunity for a stable source of income. That would have positive effects on remittances but also help reduce possible inequalities between migrants and natives. There is room to improve the situation of SSA migrants in Morocco in terms of jobs and social integration. Regularizing the migrants’ situation would thus help them perform better on the labour market, while expanding the diffusion of information from one population to the other would make for greater social cohesion.


We are grateful to Clive Gray, a former Institute Fellow at the Harvard Institute for International Development, for the translation and for his careful reading of an earlier version of this chapter and for his suggestions for improvement.


  • 1 But for the questionnaire, we have used a « household approach », giving us information on 1,453 individuals.
  • 2 But for the questionnaire, we have used a « household approach », giving us information on 1,453 individuals.
  • 3 According to LASAARE’s survey of 1,453 SSA migrants, interviewed in Rabat, Tangiers, and Casablanca regarding their characteristics, aspirations, and behaviour.
  • 4 « What do you think in general of marriage between Moroccans and people from sub-Saharan Africa? » The variable relating to this question in the survey of Moroccans takes the value 0 if the interviewee is unfavourable to marriage between the two communities, 1 if he is favourable only if the migrant is Muslim, and 2 if he is favourable to mixed marriage. In the survey of SSA migrants the variable takes the value 1 if the interviewee is against mixed marriage, 2 if he is not against, 3 if he is for, and 4 if he has no opinion.
  • 5 « Do you have close friends among migrants? » / « Do you have close friends among Moroccans? ». These variables take the value 1 if an interviewee has close friends in the other community, 0 otherwise.
  • 6 Thinking that migrants are useful to Morocco seems also to be a sign of openness to integration of a migrant in one’s family circle, since this variable has a significant positive impact on Moroccans’ tolerance of SSA migrants.
  • 7 We measure tolerance on the basis of an index built from three variables resulting from the questions mentioned above: Do you have close friends in the other community? what do you think of mixed marriage? Do you rub shoulders with people of the other community?


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Methodology and tables

Appendix 1 Degradation of the type of activity

To look at the determinants of activity downgrading for migrants in Morocco, we estimate the following binary logit model:

Where the dependent variable ‘degradation of the type of activity’ is a dichotomous or two-modality (0 or 1) qualitative variable. Duration of stay is the number of years a migrant has stayed in Morocco. Other determinants include age, gender, or number of years of schooling. The model also includes a variable taking into account if the migrant holds a university degree; if he speaks Darija (darija), the Moroccan dialect Arabic; live with a Moroccan (live with Moroccan), is from a distant French-speaking country; or from Senegal. If the migrant is from an English-speaking country; or a near French-speaking country; if he/she has Moroccan friends or watch Moroccan TV; he/she is a refugee.

Table A. 1 Determinants of activity downgrading for migrants in Morocco: binary logit


Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Model 5

Model 6

Duration of stay

  • -0.032***
  • (-4.38)
  • -0.031***
  • (-4.30)
  • -0.032***
  • (-4.32)
  • -0.032***
  • (-4.28)
  • -0.033***
  • (-4.32)
  • -0.031***
  • (-4.23)

Age 15-24 y.o.

  • -0.068*
  • (-2.34)
  • -0.067*
  • (-2.33)
  • -0.067*
  • (-2.32)
  • -0.059*
  • (-2.03)
  • -0.056
  • (-1.91)
  • -0.060*
  • (-2.07)

Age 25-44 y.o.







Age 45-64 y.o.

  • 0.025
  • (0.29)
  • 0.031
  • (0.35)
  • 0.025
  • (0.28)
  • -0.027
  • (-0.33)
  • -0.020
  • (-0.24)
  • -0.026
  • (-0.31)


  • -0.064*
  • (-1.98)
  • -0.066*
  • (-2.06)
  • -0.063
  • (-1.94)
  • -0.058
  • (-1-77)
  • -0.057
  • (-1.74)
  • -0.060
  • (-1.86)

Years of schooling

  • -0.009***
  • (-3.45)
  • -0.009**
  • (-3.24)
  • -0.009***
  • (-3.47)
  • -0.009***
  • (-3.35)
  • -0.009**
  • (-3.16)
  • -0.009***
  • (-3.29)

University degree

  • 0.037
  • (0.81)
  • 0.040
  • (0.89)
  • 0.037
  • (0.81)
  • 0.043
  • (0.92)
  • 0.039
  • (0.85)
  • 0.042
  • (0.92)


  • -0.122*
  • (-1.97)
  • -0.115
  • (-1.83)
  • -0.125*
  • (-2.00)
  • -0.117
  • (-1.90)
  • -0.120
  • (-1.94)

Live with


  • 0.068*
  • (2.02)
  • 0.066
  • (1.95)
  • 0.067*
  • (2.01)
  • 0.050
  • (1.40)
  • 0.053
  • (1.48)

Distant French-speaking country

  • -0.126***
  • (-4.51)
  • -0.126***
  • (-4.50)
  • -0.126***
  • (-4.48)
  • -0.150***
  • (-5.39)
  • -0.143***
  • (-4.99)
  • -0.143***
  • (-4.98)


  • -0.381***
  • (-6.17)
  • -0.376***
  • (-6.07)
  • -0.381***
  • (-6.16)
  • -0.364***
  • (-5.96)
  • -0.371***
  • (-6.03)
  • -0.362***
  • (-5.92)

English-speaking country







Near trenchspeaking country

  • -0.124*
  • (-2.47)
  • -0.130**
  • (-2.61)
  • -0.124*
  • (-2.47)
  • -0.117*
  • (-2.32)
  • -0.112*
  • (-2.22)
  • -0.113*
  • (-2.27)

Moroccan friends

  • -0.051
  • (-1.64)

Moroccan TV

  • 0.014
  • (0.36)


  • 0.120***
  • (3.60)
  • 0.118***
  • (3.47)
  • 0.116***
  • (3.45)








Note: Z statistics in parentheses. P-values *** 1%, **5%, *10%.

Appendix 2 Vocational integration of migrants

The methodology lies on the following binary logit:

The dependent variable Statut takes the value 0 if the migrant was unemployed in his country of origin and is still unemployed in Morocco and 1 if he has become his active worker. Explanatory variables include the duration of stay, gender, level of education of the migrant (university degree and years of schooling); if the migrant speaks darija or if he is from a French-speaking country; if he/she is in transit or live in a periphery housing.

Table A. 2 Determinants of the professional integration of the unemployed (in the country of origin) in Morocco: binary logit model


Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Model 5

Duration of stay

  • -0.01
  • (0.0140)
  • -0.007
  • (0.0136)

-0.006 (0.0134)

  • -0.008
  • (0.00417)
  • -0.004
  • (0.00451)


  • 0.217*
  • (0.254)
  • 0.224*
  • (0.261)
  • 0.216*
  • (0.291)

0.234* (0.355)

  • 0.241*
  • (0.346)

University degree

0.01 (0.101)

0.02 (0.105)

0.095 (0.124)

0.03 (0.0373)

0.06 (0.0521)

Years of schooling

0.049 * (0.0288)

0.048* (0.0287)

  • 0.106**
  • (0.0165)
  • 0.109 ***
  • (0.0168)


  • -0.055
  • (0.141)
  • -0.134
  • (0.179)
  • -0.05
  • (0.0801)
  • -0.078
  • (0.0916)

French-speaking country

-0.126 (0.0931)

-0.043 (0.0440)

  • -0.057
  • (0.0420)

English-speaking country






Transit migrant

  • 0.325***
  • (0.0779)
  • 0.336***
  • (0.0758)

Periphery housing

0 (omitted)







jVofe: Robust standard errors in parentheses ***p<0.01, **p<0.05, *p<0.1.

Appendix 3 Quality of vocational integration

We estimate the following ordered logit model:

The dependent variable is a qualitative ordered polytomic variable with three alternative values : 1 if he or she thinks that his/her job does not correspond to his/her skills at all, 2 if he or she thinks that his/her job fits moderately his/her skills and 3 if the migrant thinks that his/her job fits perfectly his/her skills. Explanatory variables are the same as in Equation 2.

In the following equations, xi and zi are the same explaining variable than the ones used in the first equation:

Table A.3 Adequacy between training and employment: ordered logit

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Model 5

Duration of stay

  • 0.021***
  • (0.007)
  • 0.023***
  • (0.008)
  • 0.022***
  • (0.008)
  • 0.019**
  • (0.008)
  • 0.016**
  • (0.008)


-0.073 (0.087)

  • -0.07
  • (0.089)
  • -0.104
  • (0.096)
  • -0.088
  • (0.097)
  • -0.056
  • (0.087)

University degree

  • -0.095*
  • (0.057)
  • -0.087
  • (0.058)
  • -0.074
  • (0.061)
  • -0.071
  • (0.061)
  • -0.107*
  • (0.061)

Years of schooling

  • 0.041**
  • (0.019)
  • 0.04**
  • (0.02)
  • 0.045**
  • (0.021)
  • 0.038*
  • (0.021)
  • 0.037*
  • (0.021)


  • -0.101
  • (0.076)
  • -0.076
  • (0.085)
  • -0.085
  • (0.084)

-0.037 (0.098)

French-speaking country

  • -0.018
  • (0.064)
  • -0.037
  • (0.064)

-0.085 (0.066)

English-speaking country






Transit migrant

  • -0.133**
  • (0.0643)
  • -0.142**
  • (0.0658)

Periphery housing

  • -0.427***
  • (0.148)







Robust standard errors in parentheses. *** p<0.01, ** p<0.05, * p<0.1.

  • [1] This characteristic has likewise held with regard to internal migration in Morocco since the 1920s, when it was decided to make Casablanca-Mohamedia the country’s largest port and economic capital.
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