Tamkeen: There are challenges that employers will face workers when using the “comprehensive guide” “for issuing work permits”

 Wednesday 3 April 2024 Amman

While Tamkeen Legal Aid and Human Rights welcomed the Ministry of Labor’s issuance of a comprehensive guide on the principles of issuing work permits for non-Jordanian workers, with the aim of facilitating and simplifying procedures for employers and workers by collecting all decisions and instructions in one guide that will be a comprehensive reference for the purposes of work permits, in addition to clarifying the professions closed to non-Jordanian workers, Tamkeen confirms that there are some challenges that may face non-Jordanian workers as a result of what is stated in this guide.

Tamkeen said in a statement issued on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, that the guide issued by the Ministry of Labor at the beginning of this week collected all decisions, regulations and instructions related to the issuance of work permits for non-Jordanian workers, as it included sections of eight regulations related to non-Jordanian workers, (11) of published instructions, and many published and unpublished decisions.

And Tamkeen noted that although the guide is intended to facilitate and simplify the procedures for issuing a work permit for employers and workers, however, it contains details written in complex rather than simplified legal language, which may make it difficult for workers and employers. “It’s very important for the guide to be  comprehensible for workers and employers, so they can take full advantage of it.”

“Furthermore, some non-Arabic speaker individuals may find it challenging to receive it in Arabic. Consequently, it may be translated into several languages for the advantage of all parties involved, including employers and employees who are non-Arabic speakers as well. Providing the guide in multiple languages will facilitate the provision of information and intelligibility for everyone and will contribute to a better understanding of procedures.”

Tamkeen’s statement pointed out that while the legislation does not prevent the transfer of workers who hold a free work permit to work for one employer under his supervision and subordination. However, the guide legalized its prohibition. This means that if a worker issues a free work permit, it is impossible for them to return to work for one employer, and they have to pay the work permit fees alone.

The fourteenth section, entitled “Transition between Economic Sectors for Non-Jordanian Workers”, stipulates in its second article: “The free work permit sector is considered a closed sector, and it is not allowed to transfer day laborer with free work permit in both parts (day laborer/agricultural worker), (day laborer/construction worker). Loading and unloading worker) to any other sector, while allowing the worker to move with the free permit (day laborer/construction worker. loading and unloading worker) to the sectors from which it is permitted to transfer to.

With regard to domestic workers, the manual stipulates that they are excluded from social security coverage, and this violates Article IV of the Social Security Law, which stipulates: “Subject to the provisions of Article (3) hereof, insurances may be applied to domestic workers and the like, by virtue of a resolution of the Council of Ministers upon

recommendation by the Board, and all the issues pertaining to their insurance coverage

shall be regulated by virtue of the regulations issued pursuant to this Law.” It also contradicts the provisions of bilateral memorandums signed between Jordan and Ghana, which stipulate that domestic workers are subject to the Social Security Corporation.

The second article of Section Sixteen of the manual stipulates that “exit and re-entry permits shall be granted to a worker covered by social security with the same employer in the event that there is a (social security block) on the screen of the employer’s establishment, taking into account that the following categories are not covered by social security:

A- Workers in the domestic sector.

B- Workers in the building sector.

c. Persons not obliged to participate in social security

As for the clearance, Tamkeen’s statement pointed out that the guide codified the requirement for the worker whose work permit has expired to obtain a clearance from the employer for the purposes of approving his transfer to another employer, to confirm Tamkeen’s statement that this violates the instructions of the conditions and procedures for the employment and recruitment of non-Jordanian workers for the year 2012 and its amendments in Article 12, which stipulates: “B- It is allowed to transfer the worker employed from within the Kingdom from one employer to another, provided that a clearance is obtained from the employer. The original work permit is canceled and a new work permit is issued for a period of one year with new fees, but after the expiry of the work permit, the transfer takes place without the requirement of obtaining a clearance from the original employer.”

With regard to the non-objection to the payment of social security entitlements to non-Jordanian workers, the guide stressed the requirement for the worker to obtain a no-objection by the Ministry of Labor to receive social security entitlements, which poses a challenge for non-Jordanian workers as the Ministry of Labor requires that the employer to review and sign it, and in the event that the employer is prevented or delayed from reviewing, the worker cannot withdraw his dues.

As for agricultural wealth and the identification of workers working inside greenhouses, the statement pointed out that allocating one worker for every 6 greenhouses and up to 36 greenhouses, as stated in the guide, is a large area, for example, determining 15 dunums per worker and up to 200 dunums is a very large area, and this may put the worker under very great physical pressure that exceeds his ability to perform this work, therefore determining the count of the greenhouses and dunums should be amended. “It is important to note that there are many non-Jordanian workers who left the country after the issuance of decisions to rectify the situation or previous exemption decisions, for example workers who left in 2019, and despite the passage of 5 years since their deportation, the guide prevented them from returning to work in Jordan, which is a violation of Article 12 of the Labor Law,” the statement said

The comprehensive guide to the principles of issuing work permits for non-Jordanian workers hasn’t encompassed people of the Gaza strip from exemption of work permits in the event of work permits if were not issued during the years in which they did not work during. For instance, if a worker issued a work permit 5 years ago, was then suspended from work for 5 years, and then returned to work afterward, consequently, it would result in paying fines for not issuing a work permit for the previous five years in which he did not work during, which will be met retroactively.

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