Netherlands funds ILO project to promote decent jobs among Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan’s manufacturing sector

The project will assist manufacturing companies export, expand and create jobs under the new EU-Jordan trade agreement.

Press release | 24 May 2017
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) The Netherlands is funding a new ILO project aimed at helping thousands of Jordanians and Syrian refugees access decent jobs in Jordan’s manufacturing industry.

The funding is part of a pledge made by the international community to support Jordan in providing 200,000 Syrian refugees with jobs in exchange for grants and concessional loans to support the Jordan Response Plan.

The project, which will be implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, the Chamber of Industry and the General Federation of Trade Unions, is set to benefit manufacturing companies which are expanding their activities under a recently-signed EU-Jordan trade agreement. The agreement gives Jordanian companies preferential access to European markets, provided they involve 15 per cent Syrian refugees in their workforce, increasing to 25 per cent in the third year.

The project will support 900 companies in Jordan’s special economic zones to export and create jobs through improving information on the export process as well as strengthening their links to EU buyers.

“Through the generous funding of the Netherlands, this ILO project will contribute to the successful implementation of the new EU-Jordan trade agreement,” said Ruba Jaradat, ILO Regional Director for Arab States during a signing ceremony with Lidi Remmelzwaal, Chargée d’Affaires of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan.

Jaradat added: “Assisting the government of Jordan in achieving its objectives of the Jordan Compact while also ensuring decent working conditions for both Jordanian and Syrian workers is a crucial part of our response to the Syria crisis.”

The project will build on the ILO’s on-going efforts to ease some of the labour market pressures caused by the refugee crisis. It will assist the companies to formally employ at least 5,000 qualified Jordanians and Syrian refugees, through developing employment services for improved matching between job seekers and these new jobs generated by the anticipated increase in exports.

"The project will provide technical training for Jordanian workers, as well as training on labour rights, raising their efficiency and giving them priority to work,” said Jordan’s Minister of Labour Ali Al Ghezawi. “Jordan's success in increasing its exports will create more jobs for Jordanians."

The project will also help facilitate the process of work permits for Syrian refugees in the sector through collaboration with the ministry of labour and cooperatives.

“We are convinced that we need a combination of job creation through private sector development and good employment services, to link workers to the right job. This kind of projects is important to make the new agreement on the Rules of Origin work in practice. If Jordan will succeed to increase its exports, more jobs will be created for Jordanians and Syrians,” said Remmelzwaal.

ILO Syrian refugee response

In 2013, the ILO launched a strategy to support Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Egypt. In Jordan, the ILO has been implementing activities to enhance employment opportunities and livelihoods for both communities through numerous initiatives to generate employment in a number of industries.

The ILO has also been advocating for the government to facilitate access to work and livelihoods for Syrian refugees, through giving them work permits in specified sectors in line with Jordanian labour regulations.

The ILO’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan is part of the agency’s Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) in the country, aimed at reducing Decent Work deficits and strengthening national capacity to mainstream Decent Work in social and economic policies.