Syrian refugees in Jordan

Access to work for Syrian refugees in Jordan: a discussion paper on labour and refugee laws and policies

In this discussion paper, the International Labour Organization, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, seeks to develop a qualitative understanding of the legal and policy framework applicable to Syrian refugees seeking work, complimentary to the recent quantitative studies of the impact of Syrian refugees on the Jordanian labour market. This paper intends to address the contentious and multifaceted issue of access to work for Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Given the complexities of the Syrian refugee crisis and the domestic challenges that Jordan faces, there are no easy policy fixes. But there are some approaches that can help set a policy agenda for the future and move towards meeting the needs of the Jordanian government, its citizens and the refugees until such time as they are able to return home. Besides the need for a comprehensive livelihoods programme that would benefit both Jordanian and Syrian refugee communities, this discussion paper proposes the following recommendations: (1) develop a clear refugee policy; (2) give Syrians formal work permits in specific sectors in accordance with Jordanian regulations; (3) promote Syrian investment in Jordan; (4) open a dialogue at the national level on the employment of Syrian refugees; and (5) establish dialogue at the regional level between host countries.