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​Labour Ministry urged to implement ‘clear standards’ for expulsion of migrant workers

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Jan 04,2018 - Last updated at Jan 04,2018

A legal aid organisation based in Amman has urged the Ministry of Labour to implement ‘clear standards and mechanisms’ for the expulsion of migrant workers (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — A legal aid organisation based in Amman has urged the Ministry of Labour to implement “clear standards and mechanisms” for the expulsion of migrant workers after the arrest of 10,408 foreign labourers and the deportation of 6,558 of them over the past year, according to statistics issued by the ministry. 

“Tamkeen Fields for Aid recommends the Jordanian government to join the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families of 1990, to amend the national legislation accordingly, and for inspections of the working places of migrant workers to be increased,” the organisation stated on a press release.  

The Ministry of Labour was not available for comment despite several attempts by The Jordan Times.

The organisation also called for the awareness level on the rights of “this vulnerable category in our society” to be raised, and for the practice of “administrative, arbitrary and illegal detention of migrant workers to be eradicated and stopped”.

In this regard, the press release criticised the circular issued  by the Minister of Labour preventing migrant workers from cancelling their work permits prior to the end of the work contract between them and the concerned employers, expressing that “it is an explicit violation of the right to work and the freedom of choice associated with it, and it also promotes forced labour as past experiences have clearly shown that some employers exploit workers in the name of the clearance”.

The statement also stressed how the circular “prevents migrant workers from renewing their work permits under a new employer, punishing them with deportation  in coordination with the original employer and the Directorate of Residency and Borders”.

“This circular reinforces the concept of forced labour and contradicts the international agreements signed and ratified by Jordan,” the organisation pointed out, adding that “it clearly violates the bilateral agreements between Jordan and the countries of origin of the workers, taking Jordan multiple steps back and erasing all the positive developments the Kingdom made in international forums”.

In addition, the organisation stressed that the Kingdom’s legislation related to the status of migrant workers stipulates that their rights should be protected as prescribed under the Labour Law, the social security system, the Penal Code and the Residency and Foreign Affairs Law. 

“However, while this legislation offers some partial protections to migrant workers, it also deprives them from some of their rights,” the statement said, noting that “the Jordanian legal system still lacks a legal framework that is clearly based on the full equality between migrant workers and Jordanians when it comes to their rights”.​

“The problem lies in the enforcement of the current legislation, and particularly with a not effective inspection,” Tamkeen Director Linda Al Kalash told The Jordan Times in a recent interview, adding that “the number of inspectors is not enough for the whole country”.


Kalash also stressed “the prosecution, detention and deportation that the workers face due to executive authority rather than judiciary, and the gaps in the legislation regarding the regulation of work in the agricultural sector — which has not been issued until now despite the amendments of the Labour Law in 2008.”

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