Jordan pledges 200,000 jobs for Syrian refugees

Gov't oks measures to ease entry restrictions

11 February, 10:33

    Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan

    AMMAN - Jordan has pledged to provide up to 200,000 jobs for Syrian asylum seekers over the coming years, but the government stressed the move would not be at the expense of Jordanian workers. The government has undertaken some measures to ease restriction on entry of Syrian refugees to the labour market including the industrial zones and agriculture sector, minister of labour Nedhal Qatamin said. It has already kicked off a scheme to attract foreign investment to provide up to 50,000 jobs during the current year, said the minister.
    Generating jobs would stem from setting up investment in five development zones across the kingdom including; Irbid, Karak, Muwaqqar, Maan and Mafraq. Funding for the development zones is expected to come from donations and soft loans pledged by the international community during London conference.
    "If Jordanians do not go for certain jobs, the priority will go to Syrians rather than other guest workers," said prime minister Abdullah Nesour during a meeting with journalists this week. Officials say Syrians will not be allowed to work in 18 sectors including engineering, medical, education, law, administrative and accounting. The prime minister said donors have committed to Jordan $700 million over three years (2016, 2017 and 2018) to develop sectors of health, education, water and municipal services as well as concessionary loans of $1.9 billion a year until 2018 and grants totaling $900 million over three years. The funds will allow growth in various sectors and provide thousands of jobs to Jordanians and Syrians.
    The government said it has reached agreements with the private sector to give Syrian nationals priority to obtain jobs in sectors of construction, hospitality, agriculture and skilled labour. Official figures indicate that about 150,000 Syrians work in Jordan without proper permits and only 5000 have work permits, while the total number of guest workers, including Syrians and Iraqis is believed to be 800,000.

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