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Work permit boost gives hope to Syrian refugees in Jordan

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.

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