Jordan brief

Brief written by Zaid Eyadat.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has received a large number of Syrian refugees over recent years: Jordan has the highest refugee-to-population ratio globally. Jordan’s geographical position, at a regional migration crossroads, as well as Jordan’s socio-political history and socio-cultural ambitions has defined the country’s migration policy.

The history of migration between Egypt and Jordan can be largely attributed to the 1970s where the government employed rentier policies in order to facilitate public infrastructure, necessary due to the arrival of Palestinian refugees in the aftermath of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. As a natural consequence, immigration increased substantially, with Egyptians arriving to work in the country. This has resulted in a power dynamic whereby Jordanians are perceived as landowners and employers, with Egyptians as employees. Investigating whether the is indeed both sentiments and realities of a “glass-ceiling” for Egyptian labour migrants will be a continual focus of this research endeavour.

According to the latest census (September 2016), Egyptians are the second largest nationality group, behind Syrians, however, this is likely to be underestimated particularly given the often-precarious employment of Egyptians in Jordan. In terms of sectors, Egyptians are mostly employment in agriculture and construction, dominating this industry. The informality of these networks has resulted in huge discrepancies of the numbers of Egyptians both living, migrating, and working in Jordan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Egypt estimated that there were 1,150,000 Egyptians in Jordan. This is vastly different from the Jordanian Census that said that this number was only 636,270.

The motivations for migration are, in this case, often varied, but nonetheless reflect a significant decision by the migrant and the families themselves, as well as having an impact on the community. Given this fissure, it is important to understand, analyse and evaluate the more subjective elements of decision-making and how certain cultural and socio-economic pressures will impact the perceptions, attitudes and realities of migration.

Furthermore, given the geographic proximity, and cultural similarities between the two states, how understanding focuses such as policy environment, freedoms of expression, educational and health facilities and perceived economic stability will also be a requirement. Given the high level of remittances that are sent back ($85 million in October of 2018), initial research would suggest that the picture is more complex that a simple transactional relationship, with implications about familial security and material outcomes.

Work Packages

WP2: Inequalities related to childhood

WP4: Migrant perception, knowledge and decision-making

WP5: Migration intermediaries

Research Questions

  1. How has Egyptian migration affected societal inequalities in Jordan? (WP2)
  2. Do Egyptian child migrants have access to the Jordanian healthcare system? (WP2)
  3. How have Egyptian child migrants integrated into the Jordanian education system? (WP2)
  4. What impact does Egyptian migration have on the Jordanian education system? (WP2)
  5. Do Egyptian child migrants have access to the Jordanian healthcare system? (WP2)
  6. How have Egyptian child migrants been assimilated into the Jordanian healthcare system? (WP2)
  7. What impact has Egyptian migration had on the Jordanian healthcare system? (WP2)
  8. Do Egyptian child migrants have access to the Jordanian housing system? (WP2)
  9. How have Egyptian Migrants been integrated into the Jordanian housing system? (WP2)
  10. What Impact has Egyptian Migration had on the Jordanian housing system? (WP2)
  11. What is the general interaction between Egyptian and Jordanian children? (WP2)
  12. Are the children of Egyptian migrants able to be recognised and benefit from the safety nets provided by the Jordanian safety net system? (WP2)
  13. How has migration affected the inter-relationships of Egyptian migrants in Jordan? (WP2)
  14. What are the communal impacts of the motivation of individuals to migrate? (WP4)
  15. What are the general motivations for migration – what role might perception and knowledge play in the decision-making for migration? (WP4)
  16. To what extent is the decision to migrate an “open” decision? (WP4)
  17. How does this affect solidarity at the individual/family/hosting community levels? (WP4)
  18. What are the gendered elements that contribute to migration patterns? (WP4)
  19. How does the dissemination of media/information in Jordan and Egypt impact the decision to migrate? (WP4)
  20. What are the socio-economic motivations for migration, and how has that impacted Jordanian host communities? (WP4)
  21. What are the political/economic assumptions made about Jordan that contribute to the decision to migrate? (WP4)
  22. How are intermediaries involved, how are they perceived, and what is their overall impact? (WP5)
  23. What are the roles that intermediaries do to facilitate the process of migration? (WP5)
  24. Are social networks between intermediaries and migrants strengthened or diminished throughout this process? (WP5)
  25. What are the incentives for intermediaries to be involved? (WP5)
  26. How has Jordan’s legal framework impacted their role? (WP5)
  27. How do intermediaries disseminate information about their role? (WP5)