As a first step towards implementing its “one refugee policy,” Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Jordan commissioned this study to determine the relevance and feasibility of working to realize the rights of asylum seekers and refugees from countries other than Syria, with primarily data collected from Sudanese and Yemenis.
Of the 751,275 persons of concern (PoC) registered with UNHCR in Jordan, 86,632 (11%) are from countries other than Syria: 66,823 (78.6%) Iraqi, 11,477 (13.5%) Yemeni, 4,211 (5.0%) Sudanese, 819 (1.0%) Somalis, and 1651 (1.9%) from other countries. Most have settled in Amman, where they make up 27 percent of the population of PoC. While the Syrian, Iraqi, and Somali populations are balanced by gender, a much higher proportion of Sudanese, and especially Yemenis, are men of working age. Earlier studies of those PoC who are most vulnerable concluded that those from countries other than Syria may be the most impoverished.
Currently all Iraqis, Sudanese, and Somalis, as well as Yemeni males aged 18-49, require preapproved visas to enter Jordan. Most of them cannot secure annual residency and start accruing overstay fees as soon as their entry visa expires. If they do not pay these overstay fees before leaving Jordan, they are barred from re-entering for 5 years.
Almost all funding for refugee response in Jordan has been directed to Syrians and vulnerable Jordanians though the Jordan Response Plan. Those from countries other than Syria have less access to services and often fewer legal rights. In spite of the limited funding available, UNHCR has continued to provide assistance to non-Syrian refugees, as they are mandated to do. The channels for getting government approval for projects targeting asylum seekers and refugees from countries other than Syria are different than they are for projects targeting Syrian refugees, with approvals going through the Ministry of Social Development or Ministry of Trade and Industry, the relevant line ministry, and then finally the cabinet.