July 14, 2008

Jordan Stops Granting or Extending Residence Permits to Iraqis

Text of report by Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab al-Yawm on 14 July

[Report by Raddad al-Qallab in Amman: "Suspension of Granting or Extending Residence Permits to Iraqis in Jordan"]

The Interior Ministry has stopped granting or extending residence permits to Iraqis following the expiry of the respite, which the Jordanian Government has granted to them to rectify their situation. This has coincided with the implementation of an agreement to obtain a visa through the Dutch TNT company. The ministry has excluded from this decision cases involving patients, investors, and employees.

An Interior Ministry source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the Interior Ministry has affirmed that it has stopped the issuance or extension of residence permits to Iraqis who are resident in the kingdom legally or illegally or have rectified their situation following the expiry of the legal respite granted previously to them by the Jordanian Government and was extended for another month on 17 May 2008 following the signing of an agreement to obtain a visa through the TNT Company.

The source added that the ministry has excluded from this decision patients (that is humanitarian cases), workers in the kingdom who are employed legally and officially, and investors, who are granted resident permits annually.

The source indicated that every Iraqi who had rectified his situation was granted residency for three months in order to arrange his residency in a legal manner or leave Jordanian territory. Otherwise, the government will be compelled to ask every defaulter to leave the kingdom immediately.

The source said that this step was taken in response to the Iraqi Government's wish to facilitate the return of the Iraqi brothers to their country, Iraq, or any other state. This is in addition to exempting them of the fines they have to pay due to their violation of the residency law.

The source estimated the number of Iraqi residents in Jordan and violators of the residency law at about 450,000 out of 500,000 Iraqi residents. The fine on each person is about 540 dinars annually.

Originally published by Al-Arab al-Yawm, Amman, in Arabic 14 Jul 08.

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