More than 190,000 work permits have been issued to Syrian refugees in Jordan, said Jordan’s Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, Ayman Safadi, at the recent IVth Brussels Conference on Support for the Future of Syria and the Region.
Safadi emphasized that “since the beginning of the pandemic, and in cooperation with the United Nations, the EU and other partners, we have provided our Syrian brethren, of whom only 10% live in refugee camps, the same level of protection we give our citizens. Not a single case of Corona was detected in the camps.” All this while the unemployment rate was soaring above 19%even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Safadi also reiterated his nation’s support for the Syrian refugee population by opening its schools to more than 133,000 Syrian pupils.
The Kingdom of Jordan had unveiled a three-year 6.6 billion dollar Response Plan, of which only 50% has been funded. “I trust we can count on your support. Maintaining our resilience is maintaining our ability to help refugees,” Safadi said.
At the end of 2019, UNHCR reported the cumulative number of work permits issued to Syrian refugees in Jordan at around 165,000, representing 45% of the working age population. Jordan, one of the leading nations in refugee employment, allows permits for refugees to work in agriculture, manufacturing, construction and some hospitality industries.
As far back as 2016, Jordan made headlines when it announced a plan to allow legal jobs for up to 200,000 Syrian refugees as a ground-breaking alternative to the typical handouts offered to refugees. At the time, fewer than 5,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan had work permits.