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Jordan Opens First Job Center in Syrian Refugee Camp


FILE - Syrian refugees ride bicycles during rainy weather at the Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Dec. 18, 2016.

Jordan has opened its first job center inside a refugee camp, unlocking work opportunities across the country for thousands living in the world's largest Syrian refugee camp, the U.N. labor agency said Tuesday.

So far, more than 800 refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, which borders Syria and is home to nearly 80,000 people, have registered for work permits at the job center, the International Labor Organization said.

"Refugee workers now have a clear address to resort to when searching for jobs and applying for work permits, where they can receive all necessary information and benefit from expert support," Maha Kattaa, ILO response coordinator in Jordan, said in a statement.

The Jordanian government says the country is home to 1.4 million Syrians, of whom more than 660,000 are registered with the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

Allowing refugees to work in host countries relieves pressure on social services, boosts the local economy and gives refugees the financial security to re-establish their lives, said UNHCR, which manages work permits and the flows in and out of the Zaatari camp.

"I am confident that having an increased number of Syrians entering the labor market will positively impact the local economy and bring stability to refugee families," said Stefano Severe, a UNHCR spokesman in Jordan.

Earlier this month, Jordan became the first Arab country to issue Syrian refugees with a new type of work permit that opens up the growing construction sector.

The center, launched by the Jordanian government, will run job fairs and employment matching services with businesses across the country.

There are also plans to open a second center in a nearby camp in Azraq, ILO said.

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