Waiting area
— published in : On drifting (2020)
— author: Pauline Fischer, Lawyer
— in : Article 37, 38 and 48 of Act 02-03

Pauline Fischer

Individuals arriving on Moroccan territory by plane or boat which are not granted authorization to enter because they do not meet the conditions laid down in the Law 02.03 (either visa requirements, requirements of sufficient financial resources or other grounds for refusal as listed in Articles 3 and 4
of Law 02-03) must be brought back to the departure port by the same transport company that had them land in Morocco.

If it is not possible to have the individuals embark via their departure port immediately after their arrival in Morocco, they are placed in “ waiting areas ” (a concept borrowed to French law, which provides equivalent spaces to its airports and seaports). The transport companies are the ones required to finance the costs of the stay and of the re-routing of foreigners. Article 48 of the penal provisions of Law 02-03 also imposes a fine to the transport companies that might have brought to Moroccan ports foreigners who are not in possession of the travel documents and visas necessary to reach their final destination.

Carriers therefore undertake identity controls, which they are not entitled to perform. In theory, a foreigner must be able to formulate an application for asylum upon arrival at the Moroccan border crossings. The authorities and international bodies in charge of determining the access to the refugee status in Morocco (UNHCR) are then supposed to examine the merits of the application, and allow or refuse the entry into the territory.

The waiting areas and the procedures for keeping foreigners within them are detailed by law, but in the absence of decrees applying these dispositions,
it is barely formalized in practice : appeal and monitoring procedures are not applied and the maximal durations of dentention not respected.