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Zaatari camp to host 'unprecedented' job fair

By Camille Dupire - Oct 02,2017 - Last updated at Oct 03,2017

The Zaatari Office for Employment (ZOE) is scheduled to organise its first job fair in Zaatari refugee camp on Wednesday (Photo courtesy of UNHCR)

AMMAN — One month after the government’s decision to allow Syrian refugees to obtain work permits, the Zaatari Office for Employment (ZOE) is scheduled to organise its first job fair in Zaatari refugee camp on Wednesday. 

Inaugurated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UNHCR on August 21, the ZOE is the first ever employment office inside a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan and aims to facilitate access to formal work opportunities for residents of the camp by helping them register their work permits in exchange for one-month leave permits, an ILO statement said.

“This job fair represents a unique opportunity for both employers and Syrian job seekers to be linked directly with one another,” UNHCR External Relations Officer Marwa Hashem told The Jordan Times over the phone, adding “It will provide both sides with a better understanding of what is expected on the supply and demand sides of the Jordanian labour market.”

Over 50 local and international companies representing the industrial, agricultural, construction sectors, among others, will be represented at the job fair, which is organised by the ZOE in collaboration with UNHCR, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the government’s Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate.

“Ultimately, we aim to help Syrian refugees to live in dignity and be self-reliant. Some of these people haven’t been working for several years and this job fair will hopefully help them gain employment, gain experience that will also be useful for their future,” Hashem noted.

“We are seeking to bring over 1,000 job vacancies and training opportunities to Zaatari camp residents,” Hashem continued, citing a “win-win” situation for both employers and applicants, in line with the Jordan Compact presented at the London Conference on the Syrian crisis in 2016.

The ZOE is the first of a wider network of employment offices the ILO and the Ministry of Labour plan to set up to provide employment services for local Jordanians and Syrian refugees, according to an ILO statement.

The job fair will take place on Wednesday in the presence of EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana, SRAD Director Jehad Matar, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative to Jordan Agostino Mulas, ILO Country Coordinator for Jordan Patrick Daru, NRC Country Director Carlo Gherardi and government representatives.

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