In 1994, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) established its office in Amman and, following this, Jordan joined IOM as a member state in 1999. Historically, Jordan has been both a country of origin and destination for migrant workers. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, hundreds of thousands of well-educated and highly skilled Jordanians migrated for employment mainly to oil-producing countries. During the same period, the country introduced policies favoring immigration and Jordan thus became a labour recipient of semi-skilled workers from Egypt, Syria and Asian countries to meet the needs of its agrarian, semi-industrial and service-oriented economy. Due to its strategic location at the crossroads of two major areas of instability and protracted conflict in the Middle East, the country continues to be involved in major humanitarian emergencies and has to cope with massive influxes of refugees and migrant workers fleeing conflict areas. In addition to receiving Palestinians, Jordan has also hosted forced migrants from Lebanon during the 1975–1991 civil war and Iraq during and after the 1991 Gulf War. The escalation of violence in Iraq after the 2003 second Gulf War forced around 750,000 Iraqis to flee the country. Although the great part of them came back to Iraq, around 57,000 Iraqi refugees are still living in Jordan and more recently the number has increased due to the arrival of Iraqi families that left Mosul fleeing ISIS’s attacks.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Syrian refugees have sought protection in Jordan, increasing the pressure on government authorities, economic and social infrastructures and local communities, and requiring the attention of the international community. There are currently over 630,000 Syrian refugees registered by UNHCR in Jordan (Oct2015, UNHRC).
To alleviate the pressure of this refugee crisis, IOM provides specific services to the Jordanian government to manage the migratory flows. IOM assists government counterparts in developing national instruments to protect victims of trafficking and adapt the staff and facilities to a Humanitarian Border Management situation. In addition, and as part of the United Nations Humanitarian Team (UNHCT) response to the Syrian Crisis, IOM has been facilitating emergency evacuation assistance to Syrian refugees from borders to camps. The process includes pre-registration, transportation, emergency vaccination and fit-to-travel assessments for refugees in Rabaa al-Sarhan, as well as tuberculosis screening and awareness raising for Syrians and host communities inside and outside the camps. IOM is in charge of the repatriation assistance to Third Country Nationals (TCNs) fleeing from Syria into Jordan.