The Ministry of Labour on Monday said its campaign targeting illegal guest labourers in the Kingdom aims at regulating the sector and addressing the unemployment of local workers. 
Labour Ministry Spokesperson Haitham Khasawneh told The Jordan Times that the campaign began in February and targets all workers violating the Labour Law and relevant regulations.
Khasawneh noted that Egyptians comprise the majority of illegal workers in the Kingdom,  with nearly two-thirds of the estimated half-a-million Egyptians in Jordan labourers working illegally.
“The campaign aims to put the recruitment process and the labour sector into perspective and in line with the relevant laws governing the labour market,” he said.
“We understand the difficulties of this process but we are determined to go ahead with the campaign,” Khasawneh added.
“Our objective is also to replace guest workers with Jordanians wherever possible. We have an unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent... It is unacceptable to have so many guest workers,” he stressed.
Khasawneh noted that some workers who enter the Kingdom, especially Egyptians, come here through dubious circumstances by signing contracts with unknown employers, which complicates their situation.
“We call on this group to visit any of our labour offices across the Kingdom in order to rectify their status; otherwise, they will be repatriated for violating the law,” he said, adding that these workers’ precarious position encourages some employers to exploit them.
Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Awad Khleifat discussed the matter with Egyptian Ambassador to Jordan Khaled Tharwat, according to Interior Ministry Spokesperson Ziad Zo’bi.
During the meeting, Khleifat said more than 300,000 illegal Egyptian workers face possible deportation if they do not rectify their situation soon.
He added that only 176,000 of around 500,000 Egyptian workers in Jordan work legally.
“The Ministry of Labour has the jurisdiction to give expatriate workers ample time to rectify their status. Our role is to ensure that the law is implemented,” Zo’bi said.