Dozens of Egyptian workers in Jordan carried out a sit-in on Sunday morning in front of the Egyptian embassy in Amman, demanding an end to the security pursuits of expatriate workers.
Egyptian workers threaten an open-ended strike next Sunday in case their demands are not considered either by the Jordanian government or their country's embassy.
They are demanding that the Jordanian government issue identification cards to enable them to deal with the official authorities, as was the case in the past.
The protesters called on the Ministry of Labour to speedily intervene in what they describe as exploitation by sponsors of expatriates through taking money which may contribute to the state treasury in the event of a permit being issued by the Ministry of Labour.
The estimated number of Egyptian workers in Jordan is nearly 400,000 workers, half of whom do not hold an official work permit, according to statistics issued by the Jordanian Ministry of Labour.
The number of Egyptians increased in sectors where Jordanians are less likely to work including agriculture and the service sector. Hence, the Egyptian labour in Jordan is considered as a "complementary" migration not a "replacement" one in order to fill the shortage in the labour market.
According to Ministry of Labour statistics, nearly 90 percent of total foreign workers are illiterate, while 7.8 percent hold a standard diploma certificate. As for Egyptian workers for the year 2010, the percentage reached 69 percent of foreign labour in the entire work sector. However, the year 2011 witnessed a decline in the rate to 63 percent in the first quarter of the year.
Egyptians are persuaded to enter the Jordanian employment market due to the high rate of the Jordanian Dinar against the Egyptian Pound (1 JD for 7 EGP), in addition to the relative ease of entry into Jordan compared to other Arab countries.