Moroccans’ attitudes toward immigrants a mix of welcome and caution – survey reveals

Moroccans’ attitudes toward immigrants are a mix of welcome and caution, a new Afrobarometer survey reveals. While one-third of Moroccans say, refugees, migrants, and other displaced persons should be allowed to live in the country, only a quarter are in favour of more immigrants being allowed into the country. And although a majority of Moroccans are in favour of migrants starting businesses that employ nationals, half say immigrants take away jobs meant for locals and the country should therefore not accept any more of them.

The study also shows that more than a third of Moroccans have considered emigrating, mostly to Europe, in search for jobs.

In the past 15 years, Morocco has become a popular destination for sub-Saharan migrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, the Gambia, and Senegal. Through the country’s national migration and asylum strategy, adopted in 2014, more than 40,000 immigrants have been regularized and integrated into society through access to education, health care, and work.

Key findings

 About one-third (36%) of Moroccans say “some” or “many” refugees, migrants, and other displaced persons should be allowed to live in Morocco. More than half say only “a few” (30%) or “none” (26%) should be allowed in.

 Two-thirds (64%) see it as a good thing for an immigrant to start a business that employs nationals. About four in 10 would welcome an immigrant marrying one of their close relatives (39%) or becoming their neighbour (38%). But only a quarter (25%) are in favour of “more immigrants coming to live in the country.”

 Almost half (47%) of Moroccans “agree” or “strongly agree” that migrants take away jobs from locals, and thus the country should not accept any more migrants. Similarly, four in 10 (43%) think Morocco has enough migrants and should not allow more to enter the country. Three in 10 (31%), on the other hand, say migrants are an economic asset and the country should therefore be more welcoming.

 More than one-third (36%) of Moroccans have considered emigrating, including 13% who have given “a lot” of thought to the idea.

 The most popular destination for potential emigrants is Europe (68%). Only 1% would prefer moving to another country in Africa.

 More than half (53%) of potential emigrants say the most important reason for considering emigration is to find work


Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in African countries. Six rounds of surveys were conducted in up to 37 countries between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys were completed in 2018. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer team in Morocco, led by Global for Survey and Consulting, interviewed 1,200 adult Moroccans in May 2018. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Morocco in 2013 and 2015.

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