Lebanon's labor ministry begins crackdown on foreign labor

The ministry to launch a campaign to “ensure respect for the laws regarding the restricted Lebanese professions and foreign workers”

  
A view shows closed shops in Hamra street after Lebanon declared a medical state of emergency as part of the preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, in Beirut, Lebanon March 16, 2020.

A view shows closed shops in Hamra street after Lebanon declared a medical state of emergency as part of the preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, in Beirut, Lebanon March 16, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Labor Ministry began its crackdown on foreign labor Wednesday, Labor Minister Lamia Yammine tweeted.

Yammine Tuesday evening said the ministry would launch the campaign Wednesday to “ensure respect for the laws regarding the restricted Lebanese professions and foreign workers.”

“The ministry will take the necessary legal measures against violators,” she said.

Crackdowns on unauthorized labor were implemented by the previous government under former Labor Minister Camille Abousleiman, which sparked widespread criticism that the campaign unfairly targeted Syrians and Palestinians. Many do not possess the required documents to obtain a labor permit and, as refugees, they do not have a homeland to return to, unlike other migrant workers.

The Labor Ministry in 2019 said that between July 10-29, it issued over a 1,000 fines, warnings and closures against business deemed to have violated the labor law.

Apart from the requirement to obtain a work permit, Palestinians in Lebanon are banned from owning property – a restriction that does not apply to other foreign residents in the country – and from working in most skilled professions. While a 2005 ministerial decision expanded the number of jobs permitted for Palestinians, 39 professions remain off limits.

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