Syria + 3 more

Arab Expatriate Exchange Winter 2017 Volume 9 [EN/AR]

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Inside this issue:

  • Migration and Development in Jordan: Unraveling Complex Interconnections

  • Building Bridges of Understanding: One Researcher Gives Back with Knowledge, Advice, and Mentorship

  • Alwehdah: Helping to Rebuild Yemen from across the Ocean

Migration and Development in Jordan: Unraveling Complex Interconnections

Jordan is the sixth highest refugee-hosting country in the world and received nearly 3.8 billion USD in remittances in 2015, according to the World Bank, yet minimal information is available with respect to remittances amongst the Syrian refugee community. To address these information gaps, together IOM Jordan and REACH-Initiative conducted a qualitative assessment consisting of a series of focus group discussions and Key Informant Interviews amongst Syrian refugees living in Jordan. Preliminary findings pointed out to the channels used and relationships behind remittance transfers, but also on methodological challenges when conducting such research. It seems that Syrian refugees perceive significant risks when talking about remittances, which prompted IOM and REACH to rethink the methods of collecting pertinent data. Once the method was changed, the study found that Syrian refugees receiving remittances in Jordan are primarily receiving from relatives living in the Gulf region, mainly through formal money service businesses. Those who are able to send remittances from Jordan are primarily sending money to relatives living in Syria, and are more likely to use informal methods, such as hawala and family networks. Although participants in the study largely acknowledged the advantages of a digital platform, responses on the likelihood of Syrian refugees in Jordan adopting such a method were mixed. The study concludes with recommendations on ways to overcome the obstacles identified by the participants, mainly with regards to the mobility of camp residents and high fees of money transfer services. Several avenues for future research are suggested, particularly to better quantify the prevalence of remittances transfers among Syrian refugees.

The second research stream looks into the current contribution of, and potential for, Jordanian expatriates in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to strengthen the Jordanian economy and resilience during humanitarian crises. Although macro data is available on remittances from Jordanian expatriates in the GCC, the study, conducted by Dr. George Naufal (featured in this issue of the Arab Expatriate Exchange) will focus on migration and remittance related behaviour, specifically highlighting current challenges, habits and opportunities that Jordanians face while sending money back home. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, it will shed light on the channels, both formal and informal, used by Jordanians to transfer money to Jordan, and explore the policy implications of the findings, with recommendations on maximizing the positive development effects of remittance inflows on the Jordanian economy.

This innovative research was conducted within the framework of the Strengthening the Jordanian Economy Diaspora Links and examining the Remittances Transfers amongst Syrian Refugees in Jordan project which started in March 2016 and is implemented by IOM Jordan. With funding from the IOM Development Fund, IOM Jordan aims to use this initial research to explore the current and potential roles of the Jordanian diaspora in economic development and humanitarian relief as well as how to utilize remittances to boost resilience during humanitarian crises.

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