Access to work in Jordan & Lebanon for Syrian refugees, migrant workers & host populations
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...As the Syrian refugee crisis continues, the evolving nature of the crisis necessitates a response that encompasses humanitarian and development interventions which provide access to livelihoods and decent employment...As part of the wider UN-response to the refugee crisis , the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States has adopted a cross-cutting development-focused strategy in Lebanon and Jordan which supports both refugees and host community residents in order to preserve social and economic stability as well as realise the rights of both to decent work and social justice.
Author: Karin Laub and Khetam Malkawi, NBC (USA)
Original publication date: 4 Mar 2016
A new trade deal with Europe, a rush of foreign investment and public works are to put 200,000 Syrian refugees to work in Jordan in what the international community has described as a radical new approach to tackling the biggest displacement crisis in decades...Still, senior officials acknowledged that it may take several years to reach that target [and] such a slow pace could keep many Syrians in limbo and possibly undercut one of the main aims of the global intervention...
...Under the new pact, Jordan promises to allow up to 200,000 Syrian refugees to work legally, an idea it rejected in the past because of high domestic unemployment. In exchange, Jordanian products would win easier access to European markets, meant to create new investment and jobs. Jordan would also receive hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and cheap loans for development projects. If successful, the scheme would probably mean replacing some of Jordan's hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, mostly from Egypt or Asia, with Syrians...
UNHCR welcomes a series of recent measures by the Government of Jordan that could significantly ease the way for Syrian refugees to find legal employment, going a long way to help them become more self-sufficient…This could see up to 78,000 Syrians able to work legally in Jordan in the short term and thousands more in the coming years…
The most recent of these new measures, launched earlier this month, is a 90-day grace-period that allows employers in the informal sector to freely obtain work permits for Syrian refugees, regularizing their employment…This potentially puts Syrian refugees on the same footing as migrant workers who are allowed to work in jobs such as construction, agriculture, the service industry, food and beverages, wholesale and some factories. These efforts...focuse on the dire need to increase access to work and education opportunities for Syrians, including through boosting partnerships with the private sector to allow refugees and local communities to share in economic progress.
Author: Charlie Dunmore, UNHCR
22-year-old Syrian refugee Khaled...received an SMS last week from UNHCR informing him of new measures introduced by the Jordanian government to make it easier for Syrian refugees to get work permits...Under the new measures, employers in the informal sector have a three-month grace period to obtain work permits for Syrian refugees and regularize their employment. During this time, the usual fees for obtaining the permit – which range from US$170 to US$1,270 depending on the sector – have been waived...
The move will potentially put Syrian refugees on the same footing as migrant workers in sectors such as agriculture, construction, service industries and food and beverages. This would provide a much-needed economic boost to the roughly 630,000 registered Syrian refugees in the Kingdom, the vast majority of whom currently live below the poverty line and rely on humanitarian aid for survival...UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates that the measures could potentially see up to 78,000 Syrians able to work legally in the short term and many more thousands in years to come...The change will also benefit Jordanian employers of Syrians, allowing them to legalize their employees and avoid steep fines of between US$280 and US$2,100.
World Bank approves US$100 million in financing to create 100,000 jobs for Jordanians, Syrian refugees
Author: The World Bank (US)
Aiming to create 100,000 new jobs for Jordanians and Syrian refugees in the next five years, the World Bank’s Board of Directors has agreed to offer Jordan US$100 million in financing at rates usually reserved for the poorest countries, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim announced today.
The World Bank’s Board extended the highly unusual financing offer because of the extraordinarily difficult situation facing both the refugees and their Jordanian hosts. A partnership among the Jordanian government, donor countries and development actors will use the financing to develop and strengthen existing special economic zones to attract international and domestic investments. Additional details of the job-creation plans will be announced in coming months.
Author: Alisa Reznick, Al Jazeera
As the Syrian conflict grinds on, even nomadic groups like the local Bedouin have been fleeing the violence. "One of the clear indications of how bad Syria was getting was when we saw Bedouins crossing over into Jordan," Andrew Harper of UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, told Al Jazeera. "These are people who are very tied to their land and their tribal areas, and often have nothing to do with politics - so seeing them come across as refugees was a clear sign." UNHCR first recorded an increase in Bedouin refugees near the end of 2013...
Access to work for Syrian refugees in Jordan: A discussion paper on labour and refugee laws and policies
Author: International Labour Organization
Original publication date: 2015
Given the complexities of the Syrian refugee crisis and the domestic challenges that Jordan faces, there are no easy policy fixes. But there are some steps which can help set a policy agenda for the future which could go a long ways towards meeting the needs of the Jordanian government, its citizens and the refugees until they are able to return home, that include: develop[ing] a clear refugee policy; giv[ing] Syrians formal work permits in specific sectors in accordance with Jordanian regulations; promot[ing] Syrian investments in Jordan; open[ing] a dialogue at national level on the employment of Syrian refugees; and, establish[ing] dialogue at regional level between host countries...