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Million illegal guest workers in Jordan — ministry

By JT - Feb 05,2017 - Last updated at Feb 05,2017

AMMAN — There are around 1.4 million guest workers in Jordan, a million of whom are illegal, Labour Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Khatib said on Sunday, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

By Sunday, the ministry has issued around 400,000 work permits, Khatib said, noting that the workers who have those permits make annual remittances of around $1.5 billion, which constitute half the remittances that come from Jordanians working abroad. 

Khatib said the ministry is preparing a plan to regulate the guest labour sector. 

The Cabinet has endorsed regulations to unify fees for issuing or renewing annual work permits for non-Jordanians at JD500, a decision that triggered a backlash, especially from the agricultural sector, it was reported.

Part of the fees will be allocated to support the Employment-Technical and Vocational Education Training Fund and the agricultural sector through soft loans from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, Petra reported. 

There are 19 professions closed to guest labour, while regarding jobs open for these workers, there are set quotas for foreign labour,  including 40 per cent in gas stations. 

President of Jordan Investors Association Nabil Ismail highlighted the importance of rehabilitating Jordanian cadres to work in the industrial sector, noting that non-Jordanian workers constitute no more than 15 per cent of the labour force working in factories. He urged accelerating a review of the employment policy in coordination with the Jordan Chamber of Industry. 

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