HCP: one in five refugees is married to a Moroccan spouse

HCP: one in five refugees is married to a Moroccan spouse
HCP: one in five refugees is married to a Moroccan spouse

The High Commission for Planning has published the results of its survey on the socio-economic situation of refugees in Morocco, making it possible to understand the legal situation of refugees in Morocco, and to measure the level of their integration. From their entry into Moroccan territory until the moment they obtain a residence permit or a job, the HCP sheds light on the living conditions of refugees in the country.

At the end of January 2024, Morocco had 9,906 refugees and 9,256 asylum seekers, according to the latest figures from the High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). A recent survey carried out by the High Commission for Planning looked into the journey and living conditions of these refugees.

First, regarding the reasons that pushed them to leave their countries, more than half (58.9%) of refugee household heads claim to have been forced for reasons of insecurity, linked to war and conflicts (66 % among women and 57.3% among men).

Studies come in second place with 24.0% of refugees, with no significant difference between men and women (24.2% and 22.9% respectively). Looking for a job comes in 3rd position with 11.4% of refugees, much more among men (13.5%) than women (1.8%).

Algeria, main gateway
The HCP reveals that airports and borders with Algeria are the main points of entry into Morocco. More than half of the heads of refugee households entered Morocco via the airport (55.3%), 56.1% among women and 55.1% among men. The second point of entry is the borders with Algeria with a proportion of 41.8%, 42.9% among men and 37.1% among women. A tiny minority entered Morocco via the border with Mauritania (1.7%).

Analysis by country of origin reveals distinct patterns. It appears that almost all South Sudanese (98.0%) entered Morocco via the airport. This route was also used in majority by Yemenis (82.5%), Central Africans (80.3%) and by more than half of Ivorians and refugees from other Arab countries. The border with Algeria, for its part, is widely used by Syrians (74.9%) and refugees from other African countries (59.4%), indicates the same Source.

Moreover, almost a third (31.9%) of refugee household heads are of Syrian nationality, followed by the Central African Republic (19%), Yemen (16.5%), South Sudan (8.1%). %) and Ivory Coast (4.5%). Half are located in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Salé and Kénitra. However, nearly 1 in 8 refugee heads of household do not have documents supporting their nationality. 11.8% of refugees say they do not have documents proving their current nationality.

This percentage reaches 21.3% among women compared to 9.7% among men. Depending on the country of origin, more than a third (35.3%) of Ivorians have no document proving their nationality. On the other hand, the majority of other nationalities have it with 99.2% for nationals of Yemen, 99% for those of Syria, 96.1% of South Sudan and 94.9% of the Central African Republic.

Mixed marriage and limits
Concerning the family situation of refugees and asylum seekers, those from African countries are mainly single with 97.7% for South Sudanese, 93.8% for Central Africans and 78.3% for Ivorians. The status of “married” is, for its part, more common among refugees of Arab origin with 81% for Syrians and 42.4% for Yemenis. The survey also reveals that one head of refugee household in 5 is married to a Moroccan spouse.

Depending on gender, more than one man in five (22.4%) is married to a wife of Moroccan nationality while almost all refugee women are married to husbands of the same nationality, reveals the same Source.

Concerning the country of origin, marriage with a Moroccan wife is more frequent among refugees from Yemen (19.8%), Ivory Coast (19.4%) and Syria (16.8% ), continues the survey, noting that marriage with a Moroccan woman is more common among refugee men with a valid or expired residence permit, with 20.5% and 28.7% respectively. A third of these refugee men married to a Moroccan wife applied for Moroccan nationality. Syrians (29.3%) and Yemenis (19.8%) are those who have pursued this approach the most. The vast majority (92.1%) also say they are interested in any support to obtain Moroccan nationality.

Depending on the country of origin, this need for support concerns almost all Ivorian refugees, 95.8% of Syrians and 87.4% of Yemenis. The study also looked at another blockage encountered by these mixed couples, that of children. It thus emerges that almost a quarter of the heads of refugee households married to a Moroccan woman have at least one child who does not have the nationality of his mother. More than 7 refugees married to a Moroccan woman in 10 (72.6%) have at least one child who has acquired their mother’s nationality, compared to 21.1% who have not acquired it. This particularly concerns Yemeni (35.1%) and Syrian (26.6%) refugees, indicates the same Source.

“Darija” as a means of communication
Surprisingly, the survey reveals that almost two thirds of refugees mainly use the Moroccan dialect as a means of communication in their daily lives, men (69.6%) much more than women (37.6%). French comes in second place with 33.2%, more used by women than by men (57.5% against 27.9% respectively). Only 3% of refugees communicate in English or other languages.

Moreover, 4 out of 9 refugees have a higher level of education. They are generally specialized in the fields of commerce and management, law, health and information and communication technologies. Nevertheless, casual jobs constitute a quarter of the sources of income of refugees in Morocco. Income from casual employment constitutes a little more than a quarter (26.8%) of the sources of income declared by refugees in Morocco, relatively more by men (30.1%) than women (13.3% ).

This Source of income is declared by 35.3% of Syrians, 28.9% of Central Africans, 21.8% of Yemenis, 17.5% of Ivorians and 12.6% of South Sudanese. It is particularly higher among refugees with an expired residence permit (34.8%) and those without any residence permit in Morocco (26.9%). On average, refugees in Morocco live on an average monthly income of around 3,000 DH.

The results of the survey revealed that the average monthly income of refugee households in Morocco was, during the 12 months preceding the survey, 3,155 DH, that declared by men is relatively higher than that declared by women, respectively 3,371 DH and 2,075 DH. The highest monthly income is observed among Syrians, with 4,871 DH, followed by Yemenis (2,947 DH), Ivorians (2,173 DH) and South Sudanese (1,705 DH).

According to the legal situation, the average monthly income goes from 2,405 DH for refugees without any residence permit in Morocco to 2,829 DH for those with an expired residence permit, to reach 3,614 DH for refugees with a Valid residence permit. The results of the survey reveal that 71.5% of refugees are satisfied with their stay in Morocco. Refugee satisfaction is more pronounced among Syrians (88.8%), Yemenis (88.7%) and South Sudanese (84.2%) than Ivorians (38.1%). The level of satisfaction of refugees increases with age. More than half of the refugees perceive a positive attitude from Moroccans. Around 55% of refugees believe that Moroccans have a positive attitude towards them, men more than women with 58.7% and 38.4% respectively. While 10.1% perceive rather a negative attitude.

Faiza Rhoul / ECO Inspirations

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