Jordan is one of the countries most affected by the Syria crisis, hosting the second highest share of refugees pro capita in the world.
84% of Syrian refugees in Jordan live in urban areas and 16% live in three refugee camps. 48% of refugees are children, and 4.5% are elderly people.
Over 125,000 work permits have been issued for Syrian refugees since 2016 up to now.
Working with Partners
UNHCR coordinates the refugee response under the leadership of the Government of Jordan, in a collaborative effort between the donor community, UN agencies, international and national NGOs, community-based organizations, refugees and host communities. Currently eight sectors provide support within the Jordan refugee response. UNHCR co-chairs several sectors and their thematic working groups, namely the Basic Needs Working Group with NRC, the Health Working Group with WHO, the Protection Working Group with NRC (as well as the associated Child Protection Working Group with UNICEF and the Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Group with UNFPA), the Shelter Working Group with NRC and the Livelihoods Working Group with DRC. These sectors provide information, advice and advocacy to high-level decision-making bodies in Jordan. UNHCR supports the Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate (SRAD) - the Government agency in charge of the management and coordination of Zaatari and Azraq camps - to ensure that assistance is provided in the most effective and efficient way possible in accordance with international humanitarian standards and protection principles.
UNHCR Jordan was the first UNHCR operation worldwide to introduce iris-scanning fraud-proof biometrics for refugee registration in 2013. Currently, almost all of the registered Syrians are processed using biometric technology, which enables UNHCR to process up to 4,000 refugees a day at the largest urban registration centre in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, UNHCR’s Anmar Hmoud Registration Centre in Amman.
UNHCR has been directly providing psycho-social support and emergency cash assistance to SGBV survivors. This has been complemented through partnerships with local NGOs who provide specialized support to survivors in safe spaces in Jordan. Survivors are referred to health, legal, safe shelter options and other services. UNHCR also implements prevention activities such as women empowerment workshops, self-defense classes led by refugee women and various awareness activities within communities.
UNHCR Jordan has one of the largest refugee helplines in the world, answering over 560,000 calls per month, including for legal advice and consultations through an automated-voice response system. The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology was introduced in December 2017 to increase the number of calls handled by the helpline team, with over 500 pre-recorded and tailored voice messages to fit most caller’s question. Emergency or complicated calls, such as detention or protection issues, are immediately transferred to staff.
UNHCR continues its strategic global shift from the distribution of in-kind relief items to the provision of humanitarian cash assistance. Refugees receive cash through iris-scan biometric technology directly through bank ATMs. Jordan is the third largest cash programme delivered by UNHCR worldwide after Lebanon and Afghanistan. UNHCR currently provides monthly cash assistance to approximately 30,000 Syrian 2,000 Iraqi and 700 refugees of other nationalities, targeting the most vulnerable refugees residing outside the camps.
UNHCR provides comprehensive primary, secondary and tertiary health care services free of charge for refugees in Azraq and Zaatari camps, for vulnerable Syrians in urban areas and for all non-Syrians in urban areas. However, changes to Government regulations in February 2018 meant that Syrian refugees were no longer able to access the non-insured Jordanian rate for health and should thus pay 80% of foreigner rates. However, on 09 April 2019, the Government announced the rollback to non-insured Jordanian rate which aimed to treat Syrian refugees in MOH public hospitals and primary health care centres at uninsured Jordanian rate and pay directly for the services.
The Government also decided to exempt Syrian refugees from the wages of maternity and childhood services provided in the maternity and childhood centers affiliated to the Ministry of Health. A multi donor trust fund has been set up to assist the Ministry of Health to cover costs, with USD 22.5 million so far contributed by the United States, Denmark and Canada.