Sanitation expat workers to be phased out — ministry

Ministry of Local Administration
Ministry of Local Administration. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — The Ministry of Local Administration revealed that no foreign laborers will be allowed to work in sanitation at municipalities across Jordan by 2025.اضافة اعلان

Based on the recent decision, expat wotkers will be replaced by Jordanians to reduce unemployment among Jordanians, and ease the culture of shame, which has long prevented many from taking up such jobs.

The ministry’s Secretary-General Hussein Al-Mheidat said the plan is to “reduce the number of expat sanitation workers, make use of Jordanian workers, and provide jobs for them”.

“This will have a positive impact on the municipalities,” he told Jordan News.

He explained that in the future, the labor market will be limited to Jordanians, “not only in municipalities, but also in other fields”.

The government began providing encouraging job incentives for sanitation workers since 2021, when it decided to replace expats with Jordanians in the field, according to the secretary-general.

Mheidat said that the incentives include abiding by the minimum wage, offering workers health insurance coverage, and inclusion in social security benefits.

The Ministry of Labor said that the main purpose of removing expat workers is to provide job opportunities for Jordanians. It said that the decision is in line with its plans to organize, and control the Jordanian labor market.

Expats are not allowed to renew their work permits as sanitation workers as of January 1, 2025, according to a ministry timetable.

It revealed that the percentage of expats sanitation workers has been cut gradually since 2020, allowing only the renewal of 85 percent of work permits for expat sanitation workers that year, 75 percent in 2021, and 50 percent in 2022.

In December 2023, only 20 percent of expat laborers working in sanitation will be allowed to renew their work permits.

Head of the Workers’ House Hamada Abu Nijmeh told Jordan News that finding jobs for Jordanians in all sectors “is very important, and it is encouraging to see the municipalities taking this initiative”.

The taboo culture does not exist in Jordan, according to Abu Nijmeh, who explained that “Jordanians will be attracted to any available job opportunity, if decent work standards and circumstances are provided.”

He referred to the Greater Amman Municipality’s (GAM) experience, when it “changed the sanitation job requirements, such as the inclusion of the social security and health insurance in their contracts, most sanitation workers who applied were Jordanians”.

“Preventing expats from working in some jobs is not the issue,” he said. “The issue is that Jordanians refrain from some jobs due to indecent job conditions that some expats might be fine with.”

Abu Nijmeh said that tightening work circumstances on expats “is not what we want, and is not the solution to attract Jordanians to some jobs.”

“We only want to change the requirements, and conditions of some jobs so that Jordanians apply and compete with expats positions,” he explained.

Abu Nijmeh maintained that salaries should be equal for Jordanians and non-Jordanians, “given that they put the same effort in the same job”.

He emphasized that “any form of discrimination based on the nationality, or any other factor is unacceptable”.

Ahmad Awad, head of the Jordan Labor Watch, said: “In principle, the government is the concerned authority in determining the general aspects of employment in the public sector.”

“The rights of the current employees in municipalities should be maintained,” he insisted in an interview with Jordan News.

“If their contracts are to be terminated, it should be done in accordance with the prevailing laws, yet I find the government’s approach a positive one, as it reduces the unemployment rates among Jordanians,” he pointed out.

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