Response to the Syria Refugee Crisis

ILO, UNHCR strengthen partnership to promote employment for refugees and Jordanian host communities in Jordan

A Letter of Understanding, signed by the two agencies, outlines ways to increase collaboration of joint activities aimed at helping Refugees and Host Communities access decent work.

Press release | 17 July 2018
AMMAN (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) signed a Letter of Understanding (LOU) in Amman on 16 July aimed at further promoting decent work opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan. The LOU is based on the global Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies in 2016, which focuses on long-term solutions for refugees and others displaced by conflict and persecution.

The document outlines ways in which the two agencies will strengthen collaboration and coordination of joint activities related to refugees’ and host communities access to decent work in the country. It includes the need to ensure the protection of refugees in all activities, in accordance with the principles of international protection and labour standards.

ILO and UNHCR are already partnering closely on issues of employment – most notably with the Zaatari Office for Employment, in Zaatari camp and the Azraq Office for Employment in Azraq camp, but also for the coordination of livelihood activities, and for knowledge management.

Another priority identified in the LOU is to continue working closely with local institutions and organisations to respond to challenges faced by refugees and local communities in the labour market.

The collaboration is part of the wider international response to the Syrian refugee crisis, as requested by the Jordanian Government, which aims to support both Syrian refugees and Jordanians in local communities hosting the refugees.

Patrick Daru, ILO’s Country Coordinator for Jordan, said: “We value the excellent collaboration we have been enjoying for the past years with UNHCR, as part of the UN support to the implementation of the Jordan Compact. The ILO has adopted a development-focused and employment-driven Programme of Support to the Jordan Compact, addressing the need for short-term job creation but also pre-existing deficits of the Jordanian labour market – in terms of quantity and quality of jobs available.

In 2016, the Government of Jordan agreed to allow Syrian refugees into selected occupations of the labour market, in return for improved Jordanian access of Jordanian products to the European market, soft loans, and increased foreign investment in the country. This has led to the creation of job opportunities for Syrian refugees in Jordan, while also contributing to long-term development goals. As of 30 June 2018, up to 100,000 work permits for Syrian refugees have been issued and renewed.

“UNHCR has made refugee livelihoods and the broadening of the protection space that allows for decent work a priority in Jordan, and collaborates with development agencies and the private sector to promote the creation of economic opportunities for refugees and Jordanians alike,” said Stefano Severe, UNHCR’s Representative in Jordan. “UNHCR’s efforts have focussed on reaching out to refugees and promoting livelihoods projects, identifying skills, supporting coordination and advocacy, as well as on promoting artisanal knowledge and production.”

Activities to be implemented by the agencies include regular information sharing on issues raised by refugee communities on right to work, livelihoods and mobility for work; collaborating on job matching services for refugees; and jointly advocating for the expansion of the right to work of refugees and promoting innovative solutions for increased formalization of the labour market.

For further information please contact:

  • ILO: Maha Kattaa +962 790573957
  • UNHCR: Laura Buffoni +961 791096299