Thousands of migrants have entered Morocco in recent years, aiming to reach Europe but many have ended up staying in the African country
Dozens of people held a Labour Day demonstration on Friday in the Moroccan capital Rabat to demand better living conditions for migrant workers and more employment opportunities.
The demonstrators – most of whom hail from African and Southeast Asian countries – chanted slogans calling for an end to alleged racial discrimination against them and condemning exploitation they say they are subject to, due to their ambiguous legal status.
"The problems associated with migrant workers, especially African and Southeast Asian immigrants, have become the norm in Morocco […] meaning the authorities should focus more on their legal status," Ali Lotfi, head of Morocco's Labour Democratic Organisation, an independent labour union, told the Anadolu Agency.
Lotfi said his organization had taken on the cases of a number of migrants and defended their rights as workers, especially those hailing from sub-Saharan Africa.
"It's not enough to give them residency cards; this must be coupled with finding them employment and helping them integrate into Moroccan society," Lotfi said.
In recent years, thousands of immigrants have flocked to Morocco with the hope of continuing on to Europe, especially Spain. Many of them, however, have ended up staying in Morocco.
Since early 2014, the Moroccan authorities have been trying to settle the legal status of thousands of people living in the country.
The government recently granted residency to some 18,000 immigrants of various nationalities, according to an AA correspondent.