Global and Development Perspectives
International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Laura Oso and Natalia Ribas Mateos
Chapter 9: Transnational return and pendulum migration strategies of Moroccan migrants: intra-household power inequalities, tensions and conflicts of interest
Since the mid-1960s and following the signing of agreements with northwest European countries to recruit guest workers, Morocco has experienced large-scale emigration of mostly unskilled migrants. Moroccan migration was initially mainly oriented towards France but also increasingly towards Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and, since the mid-1980s, Italy and Spain. Contrary to expectations and despite the economic recession after the 1973 oil embargo, relatively few Moroccan migrants returned and many ended up settling in their new countries. This process was accompanied by large-scale family reunification. The unfavourable political and economic prospects in Morocco, combined with the discontinuation of the ‘return option’ to Europe through increasingly restrictive immigration policies, explain why many migrants decided to stay in Europe. So, paradoxically, the freeze on recruitment of new guest workers beginning in the early 1970s stimulated settlement rather than discouraging it (Entzinger, 1985; Fargues, 2004; de Haas, 2007).
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