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The New Arab

Jordan opens first job centre inside Syrian refugee camp

More than 650,000 Syrian refugees live in Jordan [AFP]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2017

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Aid groups have opened an employment centre in a sprawling refugee camp in Jordan to provide more work permits for Syrians who have fled civil war.
Jordan opened its first employment centre inside Zaatari refugee camp, the UN labour agency said on Tuesday, a move aimed at opening up work opportunities for thousands living inside the world's largest Syrian refugee camp.

The centre is expected to run job fairs and vet refugees to try to match them with local employers based on their skills, the International Labour Organisation [ILO] said.

More than 800 refugees lined up outside a two-room trailer on Tuesday, looking to register for work permits.

"Refugee workers now have a clear address to resort to when searching for jobs and applying for work permits, where they can receive all necessary information and benefit from expert support," said Maha Kattaa, ILO response coordinator in Jordan.

The Zaatari camp is home to more than 80,000 refugees – but only less than three percent have permits to work.

Opening up job opportunities will allow refugees to fund themselves and re-establish their lives, easing up pressures on the country's social services, the UNHCR said.

"I am confident that having an increased number of Syrians entering the labour market will positively impact the local economy and bring stability to refugee families," said Stefano Severe, a UNHCR spokesman in Jordan.

Similar centres will open up across Jordan, Severe added.

Earlier this month, Jordan became the first Arab state to issue Syrian refugees with work permits that allows them to work in the growing construction sector.

More than 650,000 Syrian refugees live in Jordan, according to UN figures. However, authorities in the country say there are more than 1.4 Syrians inside its territory.

At least 80 percent of them are living under the poverty line, UN figures have shown.

The most vulnerable, mostly women and children, are unable to return home because of the war in Syria.

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