Syrian Refugees: Limited Participation in Jordan’s Labour Force

Caroline Krafft and Mariam Sharpless

May 2018


This article discusses the reasons for the low labour force participation among Syrian refugees in Jordan; 77 percent of Syrian refugees are out of the labor force. Working illegally and informally remains common among Syrian refugees in Jordan, despite the work permit program. Refugees may choose not to obtain work permits due to a perceived higher risk of exploitation, fear of losing other aid or costs such as social security. The authors suggest that one possible way to increase the proportion of refugees in the labor force and with legal protections would be to change the annual renewal of the work permit to a more substantial increment of time.