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Jordan and Lebanon: Syrians face significant legal obstacles and discrimination in accessing the job market

Little Hope of Jobs for Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan, 25 February 2017

In Lebanon, Majd Yassin, a 29-year old Syrian with a master’s degree in education from the University of Damascus, managed to find a job two years ago at an international organization concerned with refugee affairs. But she has to work as a volunteer on a temporary contract, getting only a small stipend for her efforts, because the organization has not been able to secure a permit for her. Just to be able to continue to legally live in Lebanon, Yassin was forced to enroll in a university, so that she could get a student residence permit. “This is the only possible residence permit in Lebanon today,” she said. “Work permits can’t be obtained, for they require a Lebanese sponsor and the payment of a large sum of money.” The sponsor has to pay the government to get the work permit, and few Lebanese companies want to take on this difficult, bureaucratic and expensive task. In addition, the aspiring Syrian worker is often forced to make a hefty “under-the-table” payment to the company to secure one … In Jordan, work laws bar foreigners, including Syrians, from working in many professions. The professions in which foreigners can work include construction and agriculture.  Meanwhile, the law lists 18 other fields that cannot be pursued by non-Jordanians, including such jobs as working in a warehouse, in a gas station or as a secretary.

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