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Gov’t extends grace period for Syrians to obtain work permits

By Laila Azzeh - Jan 07,2017 - Last updated at Jan 07,2017

AMMAN — The grace period granted to Syrian workers to obtain permits has been extended until April in a bid to encourage more employers to rectify the situation of labourers, according to an informed official. 

The government had given employers until the end of 2016 to legalise the status of Syrian workers serving at their establishments. 

“We want to give another chance for the Syrians to legally engage in the labour market,” Labour Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Khatib told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

“By the end of last year, more than 37,000 Syrian workers had received work permits,” noted Khatib. 

He reiterated that Syrians only receive work permits in fields open to the non-Jordanian workforce, such as in agriculture, services and transformative industries.

The Labour Ministry carries out inspection campaigns to track down violators and refer them to court. 

The government embarked on issuing work permits for Syrians last year, exempting employers who hire Syrians from the required fees.

Employees do not bear any costs for the permits they obtain.

“We would like to stress that Syrians who obtain work permits do not lose any assistance or salaries they receive from the UNHCR,” Khatib highlighted.

Last April, the UNHCR said government measures towards the employment of Syrian refugees would help them become more self-sufficient, and would significantly ease the way for them to work legally in Jordan.

Under an agreement the Kingdom signed in July 2016 with the EU to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian exports to Europe, at least 15 per cent of the manpower in the exporting factories must be Syrian, and the percentage should rise to 25 per cent after three years.

However, Maher Mahrouq, director general of the Jordan Chamber of Industry, told The Jordan Times in previous remarks that Syrians prefer informal jobs for several reasons, but primarily because they fear losing the financial assistance they receive from the UN.

“They also fear losing the flexibility the informal market gives them, which allows them to work multiple jobs and frees them from legal obligations when they are allowed to immigrate to Europe,” Mahrouq explained. 

 

He added that Syrians find jobs easily in the informal market without the need to commit to working in factories in remote locations.

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