After the opening of the Sebta crossing point to the movement of people on May 17, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior announced the opening on May 31 of the Sebta and Melilla crossing points to legal Moroccan workers, but this time , providing a specific visa. Unilateral or bilateral decision, this approach was categorically rejected by the workers who are still waiting for a reaction from the Moroccan government.
This reopening, scheduled for May 31, for legally recognized Moroccan workers is not unconditional. While they had been accustomed for more than 20 years to accessing the two enclaves through a professional work card, which expired in 2020, this category of workers must now apply for a specific visa to access them. And the process is not that easy.
If the Spanish authorities, in particular the Ministry of the Interior, have explained the matter well in a press release, the Moroccan authorities have marked a deafening silence which worries the 3,600 or so legal Moroccan workers in Sebta and Melilia. The latter were in a difficult situation and experienced misery during the two years of closure and blockage due to the pandemic and the diplomatic crisis between Rabat and Madrid.
“ From Tuesday, May 31, legally recognized frontier workers will be able to enter Spanish territory through these same procedures, as well as those who, due to the expiry of the card that accredits them as such, will have obtained a specific visa. for Ceuta and Melilla “, Can we read in the press release of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
Thus, the filing of visa applications started on Monday, May 23, at the consulates of Tetouan and Melilla. Those registered on the lists provided by the immigration services of the two enclaves were called to make an appointment at a given time at midday (between 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.) on Monday (40 appointments/day) , before showing up on Tuesday with the requested documentation (passport, authorization or extension of work, photos, etc.) to obtain the sesame. The visa fees which were 826 dirhams being removed, other steps remain to be done before treading the ground of the chairs.
It is thus a question of having a work permit registered or awaiting registration with social security and without TIE (document or ” targetidentity card for foreigner). Except that most workers no longer have a work permit or contract and still have to access the two enclaves, either to look for a new job, or to recover their money from their bank account and settle their situation with their former employers in order to take advantage of their seniority of 20 years and more, says Chakib Marouane, General Secretary of workers holding work permits in the town of Sebta affiliated with the Moroccan Union of Workers (UMT).
” Among the 3,600 legal Moroccan workers, only a few, 300 in total, will be able to have their visa to access the two enclaves. During the outbreak of the pandemic and the closing of borders, some employers continued to pay the social security contributions of their Moroccan employees, while the vast majority stopped doing so. Thus, and without social security, the approximately 3,300 legal workers will not be able to apply for a visa.“, explains Chakib Marouane.
Faced with this situation, representatives of workers with work permits in the cities of Sebta and Melilla knocked on every door. They seized the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and even the Head of Government to find a solution for them, but in vain. The government has still not reacted to this visa imposition by the authorities of the two enclaves.
During a previous interview, Chakib Marouane told us that the legal workers were going to go to Bab Sebta with their passports and expired professional cards, to try to reach the other side of the border. In case of refusal, a sit-in was planned.
But given the government’s indifference to this issue and not wanting to be seen as ” troublemakers“, Chakib Marouane rules out the possibility of organizing a sit-in in front of the border post.
“Our image and that of our country is more important to us than anything. We are not looking for conflict. These workers only want to resume their work, interrupted due to the pandemic, or even go to Sebta and Melilla to regularize their situation and try to recover their seniority and withdraw the money they have saved for years. during in banks. If we are not allowed access on May 31 with our professional cards, we will speak to the press who will be present on site to explain our situation again.“, he tells us, hoping that the Moroccan government will provide them with answers and above all, solutions.