What is the impact of Syrian refugees on Jordanians in the labor market?

This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka   Susan Razzaz is a Jordan-based economist specialized in labor market issues in MENA. She participated as a panel commentator in the session on the Impact of refugee influx on Jordanian labor market, during the ERF conference on The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy. Dr. Razzaz found the session highly important as much as it was controversial. The paper presented by Dr. Jackline Wahba discussed the acute topic of The Impact of the Syrian Refugee Influx on the Jordanian Labor Market in Jordan and -much to everyone’s surprise- it found that there was no significant impact on Jordanians in the labor market. But no effect doesn’t necessarily entail a lack of consequences! The paper highlighted two main observations: First, that the Syrian refugee influx had a more significant impact -not on Jordanian workers, but rather on Egyptian workers; which would imply that Syrian workers compete in the Jordanian labor market mostly with other immigrants with similar context/ background. The second issue highlighted in the paper is that there was an impact of the crisis but that's not the same as an impact of the presence of Syrian refugees.   Therefore, Dr. Razzaz concludes that the key takeaway message from the session is that the real underlying sources of the major problems in the Jordanian labor market can’t be merely blamed on an influx of refugee workers, but rather that there could be other aspects that collectively exacerbate the pressure in the Jordanian labor market.   The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.
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