The article The Political Economy of Nationality-Based Labor Inclusion Strategies: A Case Study of the Jordan Compact written by Shaddin Almasri (Danube University Krems) was recently published in Middle East Critique.
In a setting of protracted refugee crises, donor responses increasingly have taken on experimental development approaches. One such aid experiment is that of the Jordan Compact, drafted in February 2016.
This aimed to turn the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan into a development opportunity, by fostering job creation and harvesting skills of displaced populations. This brought with it attention from donors in the form of political interest and, more importantly, funding, to stimulate the local economy and labor markets. However, the implementation of this plan was problematic: It focused only on stimulating jobs for Syrians and Jordanians, with little attention given to existing labor market dynamics and other employed nationality groups. Using a qualitative approach informed by both desk research and key informant interviews, this article shows that the policies undertaken have formed a nationality-based prioritization strategy that sought to improve Syrian labor market access over that of other non-Jordanians. The Compact did little to address genuine job creation or social protection, focusing on boosting permit numbers while worsening non-Syrian migrant and refugee access to protection in formal work.