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Nearly 20 per cent of Jordanian population wish to migrate to another country — Gallup report

By Renad Aljadid - Dec 20,2018 - Last updated at Dec 20,2018

Students can be seen at the University of Jordan in this undated photo. A recent Gallup poll showed that 29 per cent of the ‘highly educated population’ in Jordan want to migrate out of the country (JT file photo)

AMMAN — According to Gallup’s recent Potential Net Migration Index (PNMI) report, 27 per cent of Jordanian youth, and 29 per cent of the “highly educated population” want to migrate out of the country. 

Based on interviews with nearly half-a-million adults in 152 countries between 2015 and 2017, the index showed that 19 per cent of the overall Jordanian population wishes to migrate to another country.

 The “highly educated population”  refers to people who have completed four years of education beyond high school or have the equivalent of a Bachelor's Degree or more, as stated in the report.

Youth interviewed by The Jordan Times had mixed reactions to the idea of migration.

Mohammad Ramahi, 24, said that migration might be his "only resort", due the increasingly expensive living conditions and “very weak” wages. He said that in other countries, expensive living conditions are compensated with fair salaries.

Nihal Zaatar, 25, said that "the situation is not bad enough to force us to leave our country", while 25-year-old Mohammad Ramahi agreed: "This is our country and we shall never leave it. Even if we have to starve, we shall stay and protect it with our lives and blood."

Khaled Sinjalawi, 25, said that migration is not always the solution as there are several factors that determines how successful this step might be. "There are cultural, social and language barriers. It is not only about jobs and money," he said.

The young females with whom The Jordan Times spoke, said that the migration decision is "not that easy and accessible for women", although many expressed their desire to migrate if they have the opportunity.

Although such figures only express a desire to migrate and not actual migration numbers, professor of sociology, Maissa Rawashdeh, said that such numbers are alarming and indicate "a decreasing sense of belonging and social security among the people".

“When people are under the pressure of economic, social and political conditions, they will certainly begin thinking of finding another place that grants them their needs and basic life necessities,” Rawashdeh told The Jordan Times.

She noted that taxes and increased prices are not people’s only obstacles, and a limited freedom to participate in political life and the small amount of support given to innovation, play a major role in highly educated members of society wishing to migrate. 

Reactions from people on social media over the report’s findings largely criticised the current economic situation in the country. 

Jordanian citizen Sami Al Rabaiah wrote: “When chatting with random groups of youth at universities, you only hear them speaking about their dream to migrate or live abroad permanently. This alone draws an assumption that at least 50 per cent of youth are willing to migrate.” 

A hashtag, #Hajer_Ya_Qutaibah (Qutaiba should Migrate in Arabic), went viral earlier this year after the protests in June. 

It became popular after Prime Minister Omar Razzaz replied to a young man named Qutaibah telling him not to migrate and that "we can build the country together" as Qutaibah asked Razzaz if real changes would happen or if he should proceed with his decision to migrate. 

“We do not have a magical wand that can solve everything, but we are determined and working our hardest to make a change,” Razzaz said in previous remarks addressing youth, adding that “the positive changes come from the people when all parties become partners in the dialogue, and each contributes with a positive role”.

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