Morocco accepts 250 nationals back who failed refugee claim

A Marrakesh square in bright sunshine. Photo:

An intensified agreement with Morocco on deporting Moroccan nationals who had tried to apply for asylum in the Netherlands is proving a success, and 250 people were sent back last year, junior justice minister Eric van der Burg told the Telegraaf in an interview.

A further 700 people are on the deportation list for the next six months, Van der Burg said.

Morocco had been reluctant to accept deportees from the Netherlands but the Dutch government has invested in improving the relationship between the two countries and this is now bearing fruit.

Despite the improvement, Van der Burg told the paper that new arrivals are now adapting to the changed circumstances and some disappear into illegality before their asylum claim has been rejected.

“They know very well that they cannot stay and that they will be put in detention if their claims are dismissed,” he said. Around 800 Moroccan nationals applied for asylum in the Netherlands last year, according to national statistics agency CBS.

Relations between the two countries soured in 2018 when the then foreign affairs minister, Stef Blok, criticised the suppression of protests in the Rif mountain range.

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