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Jordan: Workers may bear the cost of unifying guest worker fees

Unifying guest worker fees could be harmful for agriculture sector, labourers, activists warn, 25 January 2017

The government is studying the possibility of unifying guest workers’ permit fees at JD500 in all sectors, a move that was met with dismay by labour rights activists [who said that] the planned move is “arbitrary” and “destructive”, especially for the agriculture sector. Work permits cost employers anything from JD180 to JD700, depending on the sector. For Adnan Khaddam, head of the Jordan Valley Farmers Union, increasing the work permit fees for agricultural guest labourers from JD120 to JD500 is considered “destructive”…Ahmad Awad, director of the Phenix Centre for Economic and Informatics Studies, agreed, saying that imposing JD500 in work permit fees encourages employers and workers to avoid paying for them…While the law obligates employers to pay for guest labourers’ work permit fees, the majority of workers pay for them themselves, according to Tamkeen Director Linda Kalash: “This means that the new charges will only burden the migrant workers — of whom 80 per cent pay for their permits and, thus, more labourers will be encouraged to work illegally”.

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