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Syrian migrants stranded in Jordan look to Australia for hope -

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ELEANOR HALL: Well, while our Government considers whether to take in a few thousand extra Syrian refugees, in Jordan, a country with less than a third of Australia's population, the government has granted refugee status to more than 600,000 Syrians.

But life in Jordan is difficult, with the Syrians crowding into refugee camps or spare rooms and crowded apartments.

Syrians aren't allowed to work, so most rely on handouts from UN agencies and whatever illegal work they can find.

People are desperate to be re-settled, and Australia is one of the countries they have been applying to.

As Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill reports from Jordan.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: For the past three years since they fled Syria, the Rayyan family have been renting two smalls rooms at the back of someone's house in a small town in northern Jordan.

Mum, Manal, and Dad, Khaled, feel like there is future here for their three sons. They can't go to university or work legally in Jordan.

So in March the family used what precious money they had to get their documents copied and translated, and they went along to the Australian embassy in Amman.

MANAL RAYYAN (translated): These are the papers we gave to the embassy. That's the sponsorship from an Australian association.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: They're not sure if the application was even received. They say they left everything with the guard and weren't given a receipt or a case number.

So to be safe, they also posted copies of their documents to Australia.

KHALED RAYYAN (translated): To the Immigration Department in Melbourne.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: But the family hasn't heard anything about their case.

Now their sons Walid, who's 19, and Ibrahim, 16, are planning on heading to Europe.

WALID RAYYAN (translated): We preferred Australia, but if it's not going to work then we will risk our lives and go to Europe, but we still hope for Australia.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: It's not just Syrians here looking towards refuge in Australia.

Fifty-two year old Adel Tomer fled Iraq with his family last October.

He's a Christian from Mosul, a town that ISIS has taken over, and he says he would certainly have been killed if he had stayed.

ADEL TOMER (translated): I used to live an excellent life and now I have nothing. We lost everything, our houses our shops, even our clothes.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: He's gone from being a restaurant owner in Iraq to a shop assistant here, and Adel is now working a 14 hour day illegally in Jordan.

But his brother lives in Sydney and Adel has pinned his hopes on a refugee application to Australia.

ADEL TOMER (translated): I applied in December and, until today, I'm just waiting for an answer. I want to live in a new place and try and forget what happened and start over.

SOPHIE MCNEILL: For these families, any increase in the refugee intake by the Australian Government could represent a lifeline, and the opportunity to finally live a normal life again.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill reporting from Jordan.