By January 2016, the number of registered Syrian refugees in Jordan had exceeded 630,000, around 10 percent of Jordan’s native resident population.1 While around 20 percent of Syrian refugees in Jordan currently live in designated camps, the rest have found shelter in cities and rural areas across the country. The capital Amman and the northern governorates of Irbid and Mafraq alone play host to over three-quarters of the Syrian refugee population in Jordan.2
The refugee influx has also placed growing pressure on Jordan’s infrastructure and resources, including the country’s already fragile economy and social fabric. The labour market effects of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordan range from a fall in average wage levels, lower employment opportunities and harsh working conditions, to rising child labour and an expansion of the informal labour market.3
The ILO ResponseAs part of the wider United Nations response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan, the ILO initiated a series of pilot projects in 2013 to support enhanced access to employment opportunities and livelihoods in host communities. Accordingly, the ILO has been active in on four areas of grassroots intervention in the Marfaq and Irbid host communities to:
- Develop value chains in the tomatoes and olive sectors of the Marfaq and Irbid host communities through value chain analysis, awareness raising, market studies and the organization of events to promote local products. Both sectors have increased production since ILO interventions were launched.
- Facilitate public-private sector dialogue to foster an enabling business environment in the Marfaq and Irbid host communities through identification of business development bottlenecks that limit the business growth and job creation potential in local enterprises. Since ILO intervention, public and private sector stakeholders have agreed on an action plan to foster an enabling business environment.
- Build organisational capacity for employment services through the establishment of Local Employment Committees to share information on employment opportunities and identify the training needs of job seekers.
- Build local capacity to support business start-ups and expansion through the training of facilitators on the ILO’s Get Ahead for Women in Enterprise tool and a basic business-training programme tailored for women in Zaatari refugee camp. So far Get Ahead trainers have trained 150 young females in host communities.
- Chair the livelihood/employment task team as part of the Jordan Response Platform for the Syria Crisis;
- conduct a study on the implications of the Syrian refugees on the Jordanian Labour Market;
- conduct two assessments on child labour in the agriculture and urban informal sectors; and
- provide technical support to the Labour Inspectorate at the Ministry of Labour on its inspection strategy and referral processes related to working Syrian children as well as informal labour.
Component 1: Support policy dialogue and development to identify labour market solutions that build the resilience of host communities and Syrian refugees
Based on ILO research into the labour market effects of the Syrian refugee crisis on Jordan, the ILO works with its partners on policy dialogue and recommendations to implement lasting solutions. As part of the ILO’s work, the Organization chairs inter-agency task team meetings as part of the Jordan Response Platform for the Syrian refugee crisis and conducts periodic assessments on the labour market effects of the crisis, including those related to child labour and labour market informality.
Component 2: Develop the capacity of local stakeholders in host communities to implement strategies for accelerating job-rich economic growth
At present, ILO assists local committees to take the lead on consultations in local economic development, including employment creation strategies. As part of this component, the ILO builds the capacity of local economic development committees to bolster home-grown socioeconomic development plans and improve employment services for host community residents and refugees.
Component 3: Improve the value chains and support the creation of employment opportunities in host communities, particularly among the country’s youth and women
The ILO is engaged in support to the development of job-rich agricultural value chains in key sectors identified by evidence-based research and local consultations. In line with the ILO’s Local Economic Development strategy, this component promotes sound agricultural practices to improve farmers’ access to productive assets and marketing information as well as identify quick-win and labour intensive projects that create job opportunities, particularly among women and the youth.
 UNHCR. 2016. Syrian Regional Refugee Response Inter-Agency Information Sharing Portal. Available at data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees
 Estimates based on UNHCR statistics of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Department of Statistics in Jordan - Population Statistics for 2011
 These include the preliminary study of impacts on the labour market conducted by ILO (ILO, 2014), the joint needs assessment review of the impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan conducted by the Government of Jordan in collaboration with UNDP and the Jordan Response Platform to the Syria Crisis (JRPSC) in November 2013 (UNDP/JRPSC 2013), and the ILO/FAFO/Department of Statistics in Jordan entitled Implications of the Influx of Syrian Refugees on the Jordanian Labor Market (Unpublished).
20 April 2018
Within the framework of the Regional Refugee Response and Resilience Plan (3RP), the ILO has adopted a development-focused and employment-driven strategy to support host communities and refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It aims to preserve social and economic stability and enhance resilience at the national level, in line with national plans and chapters of the 3RP. Embedded in the principles of decent work, the ILO strategy builds on its core mandate to promote employment, social dialogue, social protection and international labour standards.
21 August 2017
Following the Jordanian government’s decision to allow Syrian refugees to obtain work permits, a new job centre has opened at the country’s largest refugee camp to help the people living there access the local labour market.
Jordan Minister of Public Works and Housing visits road maintenance works taking place under ILO project
29 June 2017
The works are part of an ILO project which works to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees and Jordanians through increased employment and improved infrastructure.