Date: 07 March 2013 at 02:56
Moroccan Nationals will be the first to benefit from changes in Gibraltar’s immigration laws designed to improve international trade. The Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Act has been amended so as to waive visa requirements for nationals of specified countries.
In the past, Moroccans with Schengen visas were allowed to enter Gibraltar only on a case-by- case basis with most of the successful applications being allowed only on compassionate grounds. From this week onwards, Moroccans with Schengen multiple entry visas will be allowed into Gibraltar for a maximum of 21 days without the needs to apply for any special entry permission.
The Government hopes this change to the Immigration Act will encourage more business and commerce between Gibraltar and Morocco, and will promote Gibraltar as a tourist destination across the Strait.
The Immigration Act changes come at a time of negotiations between the EU and Morocco for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement which Foreign Secretary William Hague said would bring closer economic integration between Morocco and the EU single market.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo says Gibraltar has a long and rich relationship with Morocco, but for many years Gibraltar has failed to progress that relationship. He says without the Moroccan Labour force, Gibraltar would not have survived the blockade of the late 60s, 70s and 80s, and therefore the change to immigration laws was an important first step in the right direction.
The Government says as part of this initiative, it will be promoting Gibraltar in Morocco more widely and not just in the north of the country but also in main cities such as Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech.