Operation: Opération: Morocco



By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

Key Figures

2017 year-end results
87%  of refugee and asylum-seeker children were enrolled in primary school
550 families were assisted with conditional cash for education
420 students received university scholarships
120 refugees benefitted from vocational training
80 new micro projects and three cooperatives for refugees were founded
45 refugees have been introduced to the labour market, and a further 24 beneficiated from apprenticeships in private companies
2018 planning figures
100%  of primary school-aged refugee and asylum-seeker children will be enrolled in primary education
100% of refugees will have access to public primary healthcare centers 
700 vulnerable refugee families will receive monthly multipurpose cash grants
100 refugee households will be supported in establishing a business

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 6,779
2016 6,733
2015 5,473


Loading ...


< Back
2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[3.26822619,3.57777971,4.166918764,6.46554855,7.37972728,7.74954627],"expenditure":[2.18764167,2.81881231,3.06590613,4.53949401,5.61236189,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[3.26822619,3.57777971,4.166918764,6.46554855,7.37972728,7.74954627],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[2.18764167,2.81881231,3.06590613,4.53949401,5.61236189,null],"p2":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
Loading ...

  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

Although having traditionally been a transit country, Morocco has also become a host country for refugees and migrants. Refugees reside in 47 cities across Morocco. This trend is positive for local integration, but also presents a challenge for the Government, UNHCR and partners to reach the most vulnerable people.
The national migration and asylum policy enables refugees to enjoy access to education, healthcare and the job market. However, gaps remained, e.g. the extension of the medical insurance scheme to refugees has been delayed.
While the submission of the draft asylum law to the Parliament was pending, UNHCR continued to register and process all asylum claims, including refugee status determination in Morocco. Asylum-seekers found by UNHCR to qualify for refugee status are subsequently referred to the inter-ministerial ad hoc commission dealing with refugee regularization.  Upon recognition, Moroccan authorities grant refugee cards, based on which refugees can obtain a residence permit. However, since March 2017, the regularization of refugees by the inter-ministerial commission has been on hold. Consequently, refugees remained undocumented and could not access the formal job market. UNHCR continued to advocate with the Moroccan authorities to resume the process.
In December 2016, Morocco launched a second regularization campaign for irregular migrants. The previous campaign took place in 2014 benefitting many Syrians. As regularized migrants, individuals have access to residence permits, including the right to education and formal employment.

Population trends

In 2017, the number of refugees registered by UNHCR remained stable at some 4,770. Refugees in Morocco originate from over 37 countries, the majority (63 per cent) being from Syrian Arab Republic. The number of asylum applications decreased by 20 per cent, from 3,950 in 2016 to 3,120 in 2017.

Key achievements

  • Half of the new asylum applications were referred to UNHCR by NGO partners working in northern/border areas, thereby offering a safe alternative to dangerous onward movement.
  • Several MoUs were signed with national institutions, such as with the Higher National School of Administration (ENSA) and Higher Institute of Information and Communication (ISIC), to promote the inclusion of refugees.
  • In cooperation with the Ministry for Migration Affairs, UNHCR undertook campaigns to encourage the private sector to employ refugees.
  • Successful start and implementation of the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Fund (DAFI) in Morocco.

Unmet needs

  • Due to insufficient funding, not all refugees in need of secondary medical care could be assisted. This led to serious health complications in some cases.
  • Cash transfers to the most vulnerable remain very modest and some refugees resorted to negative coping mechanisms, such as prostitution.
  • UNHCR was able to cover the transport costs for only one third of the most vulnerable asylum-seekers being referred from the border areas to Rabat for registration, thereby limiting the possibility for many to submit an asylum application in Morocco.

Working environment

While the over 6,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Morocco come from 49 countries, more than 60 per cent of them are from the Syrian Arab Republic. Having historically been a transit country, Morocco is now also becoming a destination country for refugees. 
In September 2013, the Government of Morocco launched a new strategy on immigration and asylum. This policy laid the ground for UNHCR to transfer refugee protection responsibilities to the Government. Pending the adoption of a national law on asylum, UNHCR works with transitional structures for refugee protection and assistance. 

Refugees are residing across 44 localities throughout Morocco, primarily in Casablanca, Rabat and Oujda. Some 20 per cent of refugees have registered specific medical or protection needs.

Key priorities

In 2017 UNHCR’s operation will focus on:
•    Supporting the Government in the establishment of a national asylum system;
•    the continuation of registration and refugee status determination procedures in cooperation with the authorities; 
•    the provision of humanitarian aid and protection to refugees, particularly to the most vulnerable;
•    institutional capacity-building for national actors involved in asylum management; 
•    the implementation of durable solutions for refugees, focusing on social-professional integration or resettlement to a third country for the vulnerable.