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Morocco: The return of young migrants 1


For migrants in Moroccan families, holydays are a temporary period when their sons come back to the native country. But a growing number of young people, especially of second or third generation and graduates, decides to settle down definitively in the country where their parents and grand parents are born.

I feel more Moroccan than Belgian. I grew up in Belgium, not of my own choice, but when I came back here, I felt like I was deciding my life,” explains Abdrahman Elkafil, director of Nexma, a computer science company based in Casablanca.

He was born in Gosselies, in the Belgian city of Charleroi, but two years ago decided to change life with his family in the economic capital of Morocco.

It is comprehensible how strong a temptation this is. The Maghreb country is dynamic in the trade and industry field, especially in the aeronautics, car, informatics and in the communication sectors. A growing number of young boys and girls natively Moroccan leave France or Belgium for their relatives’ country.

However, there is very little data on this phenomenon. The curriculum vitae sent to chiefs of the human resources sector testify a rising interest, which could be intensified by the global financial crisis.

“We receive job requests every week,” says Jamal Belahrach, 46, director of the human resource company Manpower and president of the International Network of Moroccan Talents – RITM – an association that gathers young people of second and third generation.

“Usually we meet candidates between 27 and 35, with good university degrees and at the first work experience ending. They want to try something new, bored of the French model in which they do not recognise their selves,” Jamal explains.

He lived in Normandy for years and he came back to Morocco 12 years ago. It was not easy at all.
“The majority of people that come back to the country feel lost. The cultural fosse is deep. In the beginning, we tend to confront everything. We need to learn how to communicate again.”

From the way they look at women to the Ramadan, social bonds are still strong for the new, who keep in their minds the misleading image of Morocco they had from holydays, without knowing classic Arabic, the language of political and media power.

“Morocco gave me an opportunity”

For Nawal El Kahlaoui, a 35 year-old young woman who returned eight years ago, the departure from French suburbs was not easy. She is graduated in Pharmacy and has a master degree in an important French business school.

However, she decided to leave France after they advised her to change the surname on her candidate letters: a hundred of previous letters with her true name were left unanswered.

“I was a model student, a model citizen. Daughter of the Republic, I had great expectations from France, but I did not expect to be asked to change my surname”. Today, she is an associated of & the City, a marketing agency in Casablanca.

“Morocco gave me a big opportunity,” she concludes. […]

The tendency is shown by a recent poll, made by BVA – a French research agency – and published in July 2009: 26% of young Moroccan migrants who live in France and 15% of the ones who live in Belgium consider a possible and definitive return in Morocco.

By Christelle MarotSyfia Info, Morocco

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  1. Said Fayk says:

    I am happily to see that this new phenomenon is becoming bigger and bigger. I live in the Netherlands and i feel more moroccan and i think i can be more of use for the country of my parents and my heart also lies in morocco. So i encourage the 2nd and 3rd generation of moroccans living in Europe to invest in your homecountry in your history in that country that always has a place for you as a moroccan. There are many possibilities and chances in morocco justt seize that chance! Go study in morocco or look for a job if you have the possibility! Allah al Watan Al Malik i love morocco (L)

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