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Syrian refugees: Shrinking access to services under a limited legal status

Protection Brief

Shrinking access to services under a limited legal status

December 2016


Syrian refugees in Jordan continue to face multiple protection challenges related to limited legal status, and this brief focuses on the impact on Syrian refugees, particularly their
ability to access services. Download the Protection Brief 2016

The consequences of the Syria conflict have continued to impact Jordan in 2016, with 655,404 Syrians registered with UNHCR as of 4 December 2016. Currently 141,000 Syrian refugees are registered as living in the formal camps of Zaatari, Azraq and Emirati Jordanian camp (EJC) and rely on the governmental and non-governmental actors to provide them with basic protection and services. The situation in the camps for Syrian refugees who have managed to enter Jordan between March and May 2016 is extremely difficult; there are over 13,000 who remain in the barb-wire

fenced area of Azraq camp (Village 5) without any possibility of leaving this confined area until they are screened out by the Jordanian authorities. This has proven to be a long, tedious and opaque process.

The situation is also precarious for the 515,000 registered Syrian refugees living in Jordanian host communities (outside of camps). A recent survey in the urban areas of Amman, Irbid and Mafraq found that 87% of Syrian refugee families were in debt, 10% removed children from school to save educational expenses, 6% put their children to work and 3% married off their

As of 7 December 2016, 34,467 Syrians had received a work permit against the annual plan of 50,000. Syrians now represent 10% of the total number of foreign workers which is a notable increase from the 2% before the London conference. Despite the positive efforts, the number of issued work permits is lower than expected mainly due to a largely unchanged legislative framework, continued complicated administrative procedures in most sectors as well as a variety of misconceptions among refugees and potential employers.