International African Migrants Starting Businesses, New Lives in Morocco | Associated Press (AP)

Morocco’s migration reform has regularized the status of thousands of African migrants, and now the country is helping those immigrants start small businesses:

APMarthe N’Dri began her beauty business in Morocco by going to people’s homes to do braids and hair weaves, using skills she picked up as a beautician in her native Ivory Coast.

Now she’s ready to expand her tiny corner stall in the narrow warren of alleys known as the Senegalese Market in Casablanca. She plans to install a chair next to the racks of hair extensions, cosmetics, plantains and bags of manioc, and make her fellow migrants beautiful — with the help of local organization providing funds and business advice to newcomers.

It is simple dreams like this that could be the future face of immigration in Morocco. African migrants who originally planned to make the perilous crossing from Morocco to Europe are increasingly deciding instead to set up shop in the North African kingdom, taking advantage of new laws that make it easier for the migrants to obtain permanent residency and work permits here.

“I need a bit of help to grow my business so that I can move forward,” said N’dri, thanking the organization that gave her the money to start her shop. “There was no one else.”

Over the past year, Morocco has been working to grant legal status to the tens of thousands of immigrants who arrive with European dreams to give them an opportunity to settle and take advantage of the health and education system. Already 27,000 migrants living in Morocco have applied for papers and 18,000 — including all of the women and children who applied — have received residency…[Full Story]

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