Expatriation is a growing phenomenon in recent years, and more and more French people are being tempted to move to another country. Among the nations that attract the most French nationals, Morocco is undeniably a flagship destination. So, how can we explain this craze and what advice can we give to future expatriates in Morocco? ACS asks these questions to Gaston Lastes, specialist in Morocco and author of the blog “Living in Morocco”:
Can you tell us the profile(s) of people who decide to expatriate to Morocco?
With its varied landscapes, its quality of life and a growth rate of 4.6% expected for 2015, Morocco is a country that attracts many expatriates. The profiles are really varied since on the one hand there are more and more retirees who want to enjoy a peaceful retirement in the sun with a more advantageous tax framework and on the other hand young professionals looking for new professional opportunities.
The French are the most numerous expatriates in Morocco with 49,200 registered with the consular services at the end of 2014, they are closely followed by the Spanish. There are also many Franco-Moroccans from the second and third generations of immigrants, born in France or Spain, who wish to come and live and settle in Morocco.
Is it easy to come and live in Morocco?
To make it easier to settle in Morocco, it is necessary to plan in advance, up to six months before departure. The preparation that will be done upstream will condition the success of this expatriation. Certain steps can be taken via the Internet, particularly those related to administrative procedures.
In this regard, beware of the different information that can circulate on the internet and that is not always up to date. A whole community of expatriates of different nationalities now exists around the blog Vivre-au-Maroc and it is with pleasure that everyone helps each other to facilitate the arrival of newcomers to the Kingdom.
What advice would you give on how to adapt to life in Morocco and cope with culture shock?
That’s a great question, because often people confuse vacation with everyday life. Morocco has its own culture and traditions. I recommend to all people who want to live in Morocco to come and live there for a few months in order to see how their daily life is really going.
To fully enjoy life there, you should not hesitate to go and meet Moroccans who are very welcoming and always ready to share their culture with foreigners.
Are there any preconceived ideas about expatriation in this country?
Yes, there are some preconceived ideas, especially concerning professional opportunities, since the Moroccan job market favors nationals over foreigners. It is therefore not easy for a Moroccan company to hire a foreigner unless the latter has a skill that is not available on the national job market. Many expatriates have therefore created their own company or obtained an expatriate employment contract.
It is also important to plan and try to budget the life you want to have in Morocco, because depending on the type of home, the city you choose, and the lifestyle you want to adopt, the budgets can quickly climb.
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