Partners in Creating the Future
Jordan Joins the World in Celebrating International Migrants Day
Jordan Joins the World in Celebrating International Migrants Day
Friday, 18 December 2020

Jordan and the world celebrate today the International Migrants Day, which falls on the 18th of December of each year. This day was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly upon adopting the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their families to raise awareness of this global issue, eliminate all forms of discrimination and recognize the large numbers of migrants around the world. The theme for this year is “ We together, learn together, grow together, work together, play together”.

A migrant is someone who moves from place to another, within their country or across borders, away from their usual place of residence, irrespective of their legal status, the reasons for the move or whether the move was voluntary, in order to escape conflict, persecution, terrorism or violation of human rights. Individuals may also move in response to the negative impact of climate change, natural disasters or other environmental factors.

HPC Secretary General, Dr. Abla Amawi, said in a press release on this occasion that dozens of refugees and migrants face an uncertain future. This reminds us that all migrants deserve equal protection of their human rights. Amawi indicated that migration is a brave expression of an individual’s determination to overcome difficulties and live a better life, stressing that international migration coupled with uncertainties and emergency, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, requires enhanced cooperation and concerted efforts among countries and regions.

Amawi explained that the vision of HPC targets the population of Jordan at large, including the non-Jordanian population, as migration is one of the three elements of population change, along with births and deaths. Studies indicate that around 57 nationalities are present in Jordan, with Syrians accounting for the highest number at 1 million and 265514 thousand, followed by Iraqis at 130,911 thousand, Palestinians at 634,182 thousand, and Egyptians at 636,270 thousand. With refugees comprising 31% of its population, Jordan is classified by the UNHCR as the second highest refugee host country worldwide per capita.

Amawi indicated that 55% of the non-Jordanian population came to Jordan due to insecurity in their original country, 18% for work and 2% for studying. Moreover, 85% of the non-Jordanian population are refugees, of which 33% reside in the capital, Amman, 24% in Irbid, 17% in Zarqa, and 15% in Mafraq. According to the 2015 Population and Housing Census, 17% of refugee families are headed by women, illiteracy rate among refugees is about 13.6%, and 47.9% of refugees are dependents. According to the Ministry of Labor data, (348736 thousand) obtained work permits in 2019 of whom (91987 thousand) were females, while the total number of domestic workers reached (55551 thousand).

As for Jordanians abroad, it is estimated that about one million migrant students or workers, especially in the Gulf countries. Remittances of Jordanian expatriates abroad have decreased due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and are expected to drop by 12% in 2020 according to a World Bank report.

According to a report released by the UNHCR in 2020, female refugees are at a disadvantage in the labor market due to their extreme vulnerability. The difference in employment levels between female migrants and their non-migrant counterparts can be attributed to the low education attainment levels and young age of female migrants.  Moreover, female migrants, compared to male migrants, bear the responsibility of taking care of children, with 40% of working migrant women work in jobs that require less skills than the skills they have, and many of them work as domestic workers.

HPC points out that migration and displacement pose several challenges for Jordan, namely increased pressure on limited resources such as water resources, public services, economic growth and job opportunities, in addition to increased budget deficit and public debt. HPC stresses the importance of including all groups of the population, such as refugees, in social protection programs, while taking into consideration the economic, social and health needs of these groups and focusing particularly on older persons, people with disabilities, and children. HPC also highlights the need to develop programs to integrate these groups into society and protect them against exploitation, violence and human trafficking, and enable systems to address challenges to protect the dignity and wellbeing of refugees and Jordanians. It is worth noting that the government faces challenges in seeking to maintain the same quality of services offered to vulnerable refugees and Jordanians, depending on continued collaboration with the international community and uninterrupted support for refugees.