Flexible work permits issued through the Jordan EIIP grant Syrian refugees the flexibility to work for any employer in the construction sector

Article | 21 May 2021
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) Through the ILO Employment-Intensive Investment Programme (EIIP) in Jordan , a number of Syrian refugee workers from the Programme have received flexible work permits which allows them to work with any employer in the construction sector in Jordan for a period of one year.

The programme, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany, through the German Development Bank (KfW) and implemented by ILO, focuses on improving livelihoods through providing cash-for-work opportunities for thousands of vulnerable Jordanian citizens as well as Syrian refugees.

Supported by the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Union (GFJTU), the first group of twenty ex-workers of the EIIP programme received their flexible work permits on 12th April 2021 in Amman. The issuance of the flexible work permits is accompanied by information sessions to the Syrian workers on the scope, use and benefits of the flexible work permits and to inform workers of their rights at work.

The Government of Jordan has opened a category of ‘flexible work permits’ for Syrian and other nationalities which provides them with a legal right to work in Jordan for a period of one year, flexibility to choose an employer. The permits include health insurance, and also protects the worker’s rights and prevents exploitation by employers.

Maha Ali Salim Al-Zoubi, who worked on a road maintenance project in Greater Ajloun Municipality thanked the ILO for their support in obtaining her flexible work permit, saying “Being a woman, the challenges of working without a permit are far greater than that of men. With this work permit, I will be able to negotiate a fair salary for my work without being exploited by the employer.”

Abdul-Aziz Nasser Barakat worked as a road cleaner at the Governorate of Irbid, and was delighted to receive his work permit. He said “ this will help me find better job opportunities and will allow me to access health insurance as I need it in the future for the treatment of one of my sons.”

The issuance of flexible work permits will enable these workers to work freely, at the place of their choice in the construction sector. They will be eligible to access all benefits that come with the work permit such as health insurance, decent working conditions, and fair wages. 

One of the recipients of the flexible work permit Yasser Aboud Hassan Mansou, who is an ex-worker from Muaqqer Municipality said “Generally working on roads is not easy, I feel proud to have contributed towards breaking the barrier of fear between women and men at work“. He further added, that before being granted the work permit he used to only work within the nearby area, however now he plans to expand his job search and explore work opportunities in bigger cities such as Amman and Irbid.

Simon Done, Chief Technical Advisor of the EIIP project said, “Our project was established to provide short term employment and income, and has done so for many Jordanians and Syrians. However, we also acknowledge that a short period of employment will not solve problems in the medium and long term. Issuing flexible work permits that are valid for twelve months will help Syrians find other employment and be able to work towards a greater level of economic security.”

The project has played a crucial part in providing short-term employment opportunities that follow the principle of decent work and help enhance overall employability.

Since 2016, over 180,00 Syrian refugees and Jordanians have benefited from ILO’s Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme in Jordan.

Flexible work permits will be issued to some 805 Syrian refugees under the EIIP project, between the ages of 20-50 years, through a number of information sessions around the country.