What are the work permit requirements for Syrian refugees?

Minimum age for non-Jordanians to work and obtain a work permit is 18.

Documents required from the worker:

  1. Valid Ministry of Interior (MoI) service card;
  2. One personal passport-size photo;

Documents required from the employer: 

  1. Certificate of incorporation/commercial registry;
  1. Professional licence certificate;
  2. Statement from Social Security confirming registration of the company;
  3. Statement from Social Security listing the employees of the company (first-time employees will not be on this list, but Social Security subscription will be requested upon renewal);
  4. Two copies of a written contract signed by both parties (employer and employee);
  5. Identity card of the employer or an authorization from the employer allowing a delegate to apply for the work permit signed by the employer;
  6. Bank statement or legal guarantee of the company. This is requested for all sectors, except for the work permit programmes in agriculture and construction sectors;

Documents required from the individual employer in the agricultural sector (not a cooperative):

  1. Record issued by the Directorate of Agriculture stating the land surface, the type of tenure and the kind of irrigation used;
  2. Two copies of a written contract signed by both parties (employer and employee);
  3. Identity card of the employer or an authorization from the employer allowing a delegate to apply for the work permit signed by the employer;

Documents required from the Agriculture Cooperative:

  1. Registration certificate of the cooperative, which is issued by the Jordanian Cooperative Enterprise;
  2. Letter from the cooperative requesting the work permit.

What is the procedure to obtain a work permit?

For the employer:

  1. Approach the Labour Directorate where the employer/company is registered;
  2. Fill out the application form;
  3. Attach the required documents mentioned in Question 1;
  4. Wait for approval of the Ministry of Labour/Labour Directorate.

For job seekers in the agriculture and construction sectors (non-employer specific):

  1. For agricultural activities: work permits must be requested through agricultural cooperatives;
  2. For the construction sector: work permits must be requested through the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions, the only body authorized to facilitate the issuance of construction work permits not tied to an employer.

What are the main legal rights of workers in Jordan?

  1. The right to an employment contract;
  2. The right to a minimum wage;
  3. The right to have a day off on Friday unless the nature of the work requires otherwise. In that case, the day off may be any other day of the week;
  4. Every worker has the right to 14 days of annual leave. After 5 consecutive years with the same employer, the entitlement becomes 21 days of annual leave;
  5. Each worker has the right to 14 days of annual full paid sick leave, based on a certified medical report. The sick leave may be renewed for another 14 days with full pay based on a medical report by a medical committee;
  6. Maximum working hours are up to 48 hours per week. If an employee works for more than eight hours per day and 48 hours per week, he/she is entitled to overtime compensation. Time allocated for food and rest is not considered part of the working hours;
  7. The right to receive overtime compensation if working on weekends or national/religious holidays. The employee may agree to work over the regular working hours. In that case, the overtime wage is 125% of the usual wage during weekdays and 150% during holidays, public holidays and weekly holidays;
  8. The wage must be paid within a maximum of seven days from the date it is due;
  9. Women have the right to paid maternity leave for a total of 10 weeks (paid by the Social Security), and the right to one paid hour for nursing per day for a period of one year from the date of delivery;
  10. The right to be enrolled into Social Security (except for those who are holding flexible work permits in the construction and agriculture sectors, knowing that employees who have regular work permits under the supervision of a specific employer/company/entity can be enrolled in social security as they are considered employees under the labour law);
  11. The right to be medically treated and receive compensation in the case of any work-related injury;
  12. The employee has the right to keep his/her passport and all his/her personal and identity documents;
  13. The worker must carry his/her work permit at all times, and it needs to be presented to the official authorities when requested.

Should i pay for the work permit?

Work permits are free of charge. As a practice, the 10 JODs processing fee requested by Ministry of Labour may need to be paid by the employee. In the agricultural and the construction sectors, the worker needs to pay the 10 JODs processing fee, in addition to not more than 3 JODs to the service providers. Syrians applying for a work permit in the construction sector will also need to pay 45 JODs to cover the cost of mandatory insurance.

Does my refugee status get affected after obtaining legal employment? And can i receive assistance?

There will be no change to the status of Syrians registered with UNHCR after receiving a work permit. UNHCR and partner organisations are committed to continue providing assistance based on needs and vulnerabilities.

Am I still considered for resettlement if I have a work permit?

Syrian refugees holding work permits may still be considered for UNHCR resettlement to third countries.

Is enrollment in the social security mandatory and what is it for?

Social Security subscription is mandatory with the exception of household helpers and unskilled agricultural workers.

Syrian workers in the construction sector (registered through the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions – JFGTU) are exempted from the subscription of Social Security. They have to subscribe to private insurance instead. It is important that the original copy of the signed insurance policy is kept safely so that it can be submitted to the insurance company in case of treatment or in case of compensation for death (within the coverage limits foreseen by the policy itself).

Social Security covers:

  1. Work-related injuries;
  2. Retirement;
  3. Disability Insurance;
  4. Death insurance;
  5. Maternity insurance;
  6. Unemployment insurance where applicable.

The subscription is a joint responsibility of the employer and the employee and is to be paid on monthly basis and shall be calculated as follows:

  1. Employer’s contribution to Social Security: 14.25%
  2. Employee’s contribution to Social Security: 7.50%

Once the employment contract is terminated and the work permit is cancelled, a foreign worker can retrieve what he/she and the employer contributed directly through the Social Security department, if contributions are less than 1,000 JODs. In the case that contributions are more than 1,000 JODs, a clearance from the tax department shall be obtained in order to retrieve what he/she and the employer contributed to Social Security.

Can refugees residing in the camp work legally/obtain work permits?

Refugee camps’ residents can obtain a work permit free of charge to work across the country in occupations open to non-Jordanians. Work permit holders will be able to work outside the camps. The work permit serves as a one month leave permit, facilitating the movement in and out of the camp. Processing fees described above apply.

Who should be contacted in case of questions or disputes?

GENERAL INQUIRIES | UNHCR Helpline: 064008000

SPECIFIC WORK PERMIT AND LABOUR LAW RELATED QUESTIONS | The Ministry of Labour has a free hotline that receives calls regarding labour law issues and is committed to improve the rights of all workers in Jordan. Free hotline: 080022208; Zain network: 0796580666; Orange network: 0777580666; Umniah network: 0785602666; or through WhatsApp: 0790955557 and email: [email protected]. The hotline has answering machines that receive complaints after 3:30 PM.

LEGAL ISSUES | For legal counselling and/or mediation, please contact ARDD-Legal aid at 064617477, operating Sunday to Thursday, 9AM to 6PM; or approach the Legal Unit in UNHCR Amman Office (Khalda).

If my work permit has expired, do I need the clearance of my former employer or my sponsor to get a new one?

No. You can transfer to a new employer when the permit has expired without the clearance of the previous employer. You only need clearance if the work permit has not expired.

During the period of validity of a work permit you are not allowed to work in an occupation different from the one authorized by the permit.

Can I move from one sector to another?

You can get a work permit in other sectors open to foreigners when your current permit in the agricultural, supporting services or bakeries sectors is expired.

Do I need a certificate of prior learning to obtain a work permit in the construction sector?

You do not need to attend a training course or have a certificate to obtain a work permit in the construction sector. You only need a copy of your insurance policy for work injuries from one of the insurance companies approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Note that the price of the insurance policy is 45 JODs. However, everybody is encouraged to get a certificate of prior learning through the International Labour Organization (ILO).

I work in a short-term labour intensive programme (cash-for-work). Am I entitled to a work permit?

Yes, you are. The agency/institution implementing the project in the field (municipalities, field directorates of line ministries, NGOs or associations) will request the work permit from the Ministry of Labour. The work permit will have a duration based on the duration of your contract and for a maximum period of six months.