Iraqi riot police prevent protesters from storming the provincial council building during a demonstration in Basra, Iraq, on July 15, 2018. File photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The labor ministry revealed an estimated 1 million Iraqis have registered as jobless and are seeking work opportunities.
The Ministry of Labor of Ministry and Social Affairs explained the application process has been open since the beginning of 2018 with the job seekers coming from both genders. They are being enrolled in the ministry's Labor and Vocational Training Department.
"The department has prepared an electronic form where job seekers can record their data and include the type of service they desire," said Ammar Abdul-Wahid al-Sudani, the director general of the department, on Tuesday.
The aim of the service portal is for the job seekers to obtain a loan, participate in training courses, and to find employment in the private sector.
Service provisions depend on the amount of funds available for the income-generating projects, support funding, and job opportunities advertised.
Registration is open to all age groups and various levels of academic achievement regardless of discipline.
"One of the most important programs to alleviate poverty and eliminate unemployment implemented by the ministry is the establishment of training courses for job seekers and the granting small loans," he noted.
Iraq's next government has a problem. Almost half the population is under the age of 19 and unemployment among those aged 15-24 already stands at 18 percent. Unless opportunities are created for them, disillusionment and dissatisfaction is expected to grow.
According to the latest figures from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the unemployment rate across Iraq stands at 11 percent.
Unemployment among young people is a particular concern. Judging by the low turnout in the May 12 parliamentary election, the ongoing mass migration to Europe, and the continued appeal of militia groups offering alternative paid employment, many are losing faith in government pledges to address the problem.
This issue received wide-reaching attention through the summer while youth in oil-rich Basra protested a lack of jobs among other issues.