Morocco and Algeria’s Changing Roles in Managing Migration
Institute for Security Studies
Algeria and Morocco are taking a central role in managing migration from Africa to Europe by legalising the stay of sub-Saharan African migrants.

These legalisation schemes will enhance Algeria and Morocco’s negotiation power with the European Union (EU), improve relations with sub-Saharan African countries, offer migrants opportunities and steer economic growth. This approach could also help tackle the development of migrant-centred terrorist groups inside Algeria and Morocco.

In July this year, Algeria announced plans to grant residency rights and work permits to irregular sub-Saharan African migrants, intended to address a shortage of manpower in agriculture and construction sectors in the country. The Algerian Ministry of Interior has yet to decide how many of the estimated 25 000–100 000 irregular migrants, mainly from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, will benefit from this arrangement.

The decision mirrors Morocco’s regularisation policy issued in 2013, when 25 000 migrants were given a one-year residence permit. People from 116 countries benefited – particularly from Senegal (25%), Syria (20%) and Nigeria (9%). Morocco announced its second-round regularisation campaign in 2016; it is not clear how many were regularised in this latest initiative.