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Morocco to send 20,000 seasonal workers to Spain

The Moroccan government will send 20,000 women as seasonal workers to Spain to pick strawberries and red fruits in 2019, over 4,000 more than in 2018, said Labor Minister Mohamed Yatim after a meeting with Spain’s Agencia Nacional de Empleo, charged with selecting candidates, according to a statement published by Spanish media. These women typically hail from Morocco’s rural areas.

Out of the 20,000 seasonal workers , over 8,000 have already worked during the 2018 campaign.

Spain is working together with the Moroccan National Agency for Employment and Training (Anapec) in order to guarantee a ”decent job” to immigrant women workers, ensuring ”guarantees for their selection, housing, job conditions and supervision”, said the statement. For the first time, women who have taken part in four consecutive seasonal campaigns will have a Spanish residency carnet based on a ”model of circular emigration” in order for it to be safe and orderly, the statement said.

The Moroccan government meanwhile has promoted an awareness campaign against exploitation and sexual abuse after at least 10 seasonal workers last May said they were harassed when picking strawberries in Huelva, in Andalusia. The high court Audiencia Nacional has opened an investigation.

Videos broadcast on television will explain the living conditions, rights and duties of workers. Local authorities in Andalusia will also deploy personnel as cultural mediators so migrant workers will be able to contact the local administration for information or assistance.

One of the objectives of the ”model of circular emigration” – where people work in a foreign country seasonally and then return home – is to fight illegal migration. The return of pickers to their home country is one of the main concerns of Madrid and Rabat, although currently 90 percent of workers go back to Morocco at the end of the season.

The requirements to be hired as seasonal workers is for the women to be under 40, married and with children under the age of 14. Such rules are aimed at dissuading workers from remaining in Spain at the end of the season. The government of Andalusia has announced that it will supervise the trip back home through a forum on immigration, together with social organizations and NGOs to constantly monitor the situation of workers.

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