Retired Jordanian soldiers offered World Cup security jobs in Qatar

Jordan becomes latest country to be involved in arrangements for the event

A security camera at Al Bayt Stadium in Doha, one of the venues for matches in the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar. AFP
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Retired Jordanian soldiers are being offered jobs to provide security at the World Cup in Qatar this year.

The offer, put out by Jordan’s Security Directorate, comes as the authorities seek to raise the kingdom’s regional profile and as ties with Qatar improve after a decade of strained relations over differences on regional issues.

The positions in Qatar are for three months, starting from October 1, and open only to former soldiers under 45, according to the advertisement published on Sunday by Ammon News, a Jordanian news site.

“With cooperation from the brotherly Qatari side, it is intended to include a number of military retirees in the duty of preserving order in the World Cup,” it said.

Applicants must have “field and operational” experience “that qualify him to participate in preservation of order duties”.

The advert did not mention salaries, or how many jobs were on offer.

The US, UK and Nato alliance are also providing security assistance for the competition, which runs from November 21 to December 18.

Relations between Jordan and Qatar improved last year, when Jordan’s King Abdullah II visited Doha, although the two countries have maintained military links.

Jordanian officials said that Qatar, a main destination for Jordanian labour, planned to hire more Jordanians.

It is common for Jordanian army retirees to work in security in Qatar and other Gulf countries, where they can potentially earn more than they receive as pension.

Average annual income in Jordan is $4,200, compared with $61,300 in Qatar.

King Abdullah II, centre, meets retired soldiers on Jordan's veteran's day in February 2022. Twitter

Most Jordanian soldiers retire in their early 40s or before after entering the military in their late teens.

One 47-year-old retiree, who was a sergeant in a tank crew and had applied for a job in Qatar before but was not hired, said former members of Jordanian infantry or mechanised brigades are usually preferred for the security jobs there.

“It is an opportunity to save money in a short time,” he said.

Tribal links also play a role, as most members of the Jordanian military belong to tribes with roots in the Arabian interior.

The sergeant said several of his younger relatives who had held junior ranks in the military would be applying for the World Cup jobs, but not former officers, who are comfortable with their retirement income.

His said his pension had doubled in the past two years to $470.

Salaries in Jordan took a hit in the last decade from rising inflation and a stagnant economy, which contracted by 2 per cent in 2020 before recovering last year. However, the official unemployment rate is at a record high of about 23 per cent.

The state has increased salaries and pensions for the armed forces over the past two years after protests about their income.

The authorities also encouraged banks to grant more personal loans to retired servicemen.

Updated: July 31, 2022, 3:48 PM