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Labour minister affirms priority for Jordan workers, penalties for violations

By Maram Kayed - Dec 10,2019 - Last updated at Dec 10,2019

AMMAN — Around 110,000 illegal foreign workers have amended their situation by finalising plans to leave Jordan, according to Minister of Labour Nidal Bataineh, who added that priority in the labour market is now being afforded to local workers.

“The ministry found itself at a crossroads: Either collect tax from foreign workers or close the entry door to many professions, and we decided to take the latter course of action,” said the minister in a statement.

In a meeting on Monday with the Parliamentary Labour and Social Development Committee, chaired by MP Khaled Abu Hassan, the committee gave its support for increasing penalties for those who knowingly employ expatriate workers without a licence.

Hassan called on the ministry to regulate the labour market and replace expatriates with Jordanian workers, proposing that they do so through enhancing partnership between the public and private sectors.

Regarding the amendments put forward to the draft labour law, Bataineh explained that they increase the penalties for those who engage in illegal employment as well as for those who manipulate minimum wages.

They also grant the ministry the authority to issue work permits for a period of two years in some sectors, especially the agricultural sector.

During the meeting, the Arab Women’s Network called for opening the door for employment to Gazans and the children of Jordanian women, as well as imposing a heavy penalty on employers who harass workers.

The minister affirmed that all mentioned suggestions are included in the new draft law, adding that a clear definition of sexual harassment will be developed. 

He also addressed the cases of 7,000 citizens this year who left their jobs immediately after being hired, saying that the causes are being analysed.

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