Monday, 28 February 2022 01:10

The Plight of Labour Market in Refugee Camps in Jordan

Within the framework of the Jordan Response Plan to the Syria Crisis 2018-2020 and FCA’s Jordan Country Strategy, FCA works on multiple levels to respond to the specific needs of Syrian refugees and communities. FCA’s projects in the Zaatari and Azraq camps contribute to improving the resilience and well-being of Syrian refugees. Therefore, this study has been conducted to investigate market opportunities, to identify concrete ways for refugees to start new micro- businesses or integrate into the labour market, and for FCA to support their development taking into account specific situations, challenges, and opportunities faced by female and male refugees.

A mixed methodology and participatory approach was adopted to collect data, including qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. The study was conducted from October to February 2019, were used. Secondary data were compiled and processed while primary data were collected through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs).

The study’s key findings show that since the Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan, they have received a variety of skills and qualifications that they didn’t hold before coming to Jordan. However, the majority of interviewed households in the Zaatari and Azraq camps are economically inactive, and the refugees do not have a plan to return to their homeland. The results demonstrate that most Syrian refugees have skills and experience which can benefit both the camp and surrounding communities. Increased awareness of this could help to change public perceptions and foster community cohesion.

Further, the study showed a rate of unemployment of 54% and partial unemployment of 43% among the interviewed households*. Expansion of the current FCA programming needs to be directed towards vocational training projects, with an increased focus on business skills and self- employment. It also shows that the current labour market inside the camps, as the main employer, is an inflated sector that cannot expand further. There are potential opportunities to involve the private sector in expanding the labour market in the surrounding areas of the camps. Therefore, until private companies and other private employers are in a position to recruit more extensively, FCA could promote skills that lend themselves to self-employment.

As a conclusion, without enabling Syrian refugees to be economically active and integrating them into the labour market, they will continue to rely on international assistance. It is a very artificial environment with INGOs supporting and funding Syrians just to live. To date, much of the international livelihood support has been in the form of food and cash assistance to most Syrian refugees. The combination of the current aid system and legal constraints is contributing to a sense of dependency among the Syrians and represents a waste of valuable human resources and potential due to the dependency on humanitarian aid. Young people growing up in this 

environment miss the opportunity to acquire professional accredited knowledge and skills which are critical for their protection, development, and reconstruction of themselves and their communities.

Finally, this study identifies the practical recommendations specific to the refugee populations of the Zaatari and Azraq camps. FCA, in cooperation and coordination with the GoJ, donors, UN agencies, and international and national non-governmental organizations, needs to

  • Facilitate the role of the private sector in generating new employment opportunities in the areas surrounding the camps,
  • Work to enact a legal tool to protect the refugees’ financial rights to enable them to legally claim their wages,
  • Increase the vocational training opportunities for those older than 32,
  • Expand outreach to connect Syrian refugees with the labour market, including the
  • establishment of employment service centers and develop mobile applications, and
  • Provide an enabling environment for small and micro enterprise development inside the
  • camps and legal environment for marketing the products outside the camp.
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