ILO response to Syrian refugee crisis

ILO, EU delegation visits employment centre offering decent jobs to Jordanian and Syrian jobseekers

The centre, which is funded by the EU, is part of a series of offices being set up across the country by the ILO to help connect Syrian refugees and Jordanian jobseekers with employers. A total of 1,015 people, 26 per cent of whom are women, have so far found jobs through the centres.

News | 20 June 2018
Sahab, Jordan (ILO News) A joint ILO-EU delegation met with Syrian and Jordanian job seekers on Wednesday (June 20) at one of the country’s first job centres set up for both Jordanians and Syrian refugees.

Located in Amman’s industrial area of Sahab, the centre offers job seekers employment and training advice and opportunities, as well as job matching services. It also helps Syrians obtain work permits, facilitating their access to formal employment and decent work.

The EU delegation, which included Paulina Gajewska, Head of Finance and Contracts at the EU Delegation in Jordan, was joined by representatives of the ILO, including Response Coordinator for the Syria Refugee Crisis in Jordan, Maha Kattaa. 

They spoke with a number of job seekers who have so far benefited from the services provided by the centre. They also paid a visit to a near-by plastics factory, which has recently recruited Syrians and Jordanians through the centre. The factory plans to begin exports to EU markets as part of the agreement between the EU and Jordan to relax rules of origin.

“Our cooperation with the ILO reflects the essence of our support in Jordan,” said the EU’s Paulina Gajewska. “Thanks to the employment centres, both Jordanians and Syrian refugees, men and women, can find decent opportunities that match their skills and the needs of the labour market. It also makes the lives of employers easier as they get access to a broader pool of candidates.”

The new centre is one of five EU-funded offices, being set up by the ILO with the Jordanian Government, to help connect Jordanian and Syrian job seekers with employers. Other centres are situated in Zarqa, Mafraq, Irbid and Zaatari refugee camp, which host hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

The number of Jordanian and Syrian job seekers registered in the five centres is currently around 3,550. A total of 1,015 people, 26 per cent of whom are women, have so far found employment through the centres. In Sahab, around 780 job seekers have registered with the centre since it was set up in September of last year. So far, over 338 Jordanians and Syrians, including women, have found employment through the centre.

“Through these centres, we are trying to boost job matching for both Jordanians and Syrians and support Jordanian companies to reach new markets in Europe. The Sahab centre is working with a number of companies to get them the certification required to reach those markets,” said the ILO’s Maha Kattaa.  “We are also informing job-seekers of their labour rights, along with providing them with training opportunities, to ensure they enter the job market under decent working conditions.”

Syrian Obeid Mohammed Omar, who recently found employment in a factory through the help of the centre, says he is happy with his new job. “I filled out an application form at the centre and was later sent to the factory for an interview,” he said. “The centre also gave me a lot of information about my entitlements as a worker, including information on my salary, working hours, sick leave and my rights under the Jordanian labour law.”


The centres are part of on-going initiatives by the ILO and the EU to support the implementation of the agreement between the EU and Jordan to relax rules of origin. The agreement aims to facilitate access of specific Jordanian goods to EU markets while at the same time creating incentives for Jordanian employers to recruit Syrian workers in addition to their Jordanian employees, in order to meet the requirements under the Jordan Compact.

In Zaatari, a specific database programmed by UNHCR records work permits and facilitates the movement of the workers in and out of the camp, allowing them access to the local job market.

Overall, the ILO is supporting eleven employment centres that are already established or currently being set up, including a number of centres sponsored by the Dutch Government.


In 2016, Jordan began to ease the application process of issuing work permits to Syrian refugees as part of its commitment at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London to reduce barriers to the legal employment of refugees.

To-date, more than 103,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan have obtained work permits, mostly in the sectors of agriculture, construction and manufacturing, which are open to non-Jordanian workers. Almost half of those were issued with the support of the ILO.

For more information, please contact:

Amal Mustafa, Project Officer, International Labour Organization (e)