Can Palestinian refugees work in Lebanon?

Published: May 1, 2021

Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita. There are an estimated 1.5 million Syrian and 450,000 Palestinian refugees. Thousands of unregistered refugees in Lebanon do not have access to basic services like education, health care and social services. The twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon were meant to provide temporary housing, but 70 years later, hundreds of thousands of stateless Palestinians still live in crumbling camps.

Palestinians are unable to gain work permits because of Lebanese law which states that they can only issue a permit if the worker cannot be replaced by a Lebanese citizen. Furthermore, a number of professions are exclusively reserved for Lebanese citizens. This makes the Labour market difficult to access.

Despite this Palestinians have been contributing to the Lebanese economy since 1948. In fact, many of them engaged in the sector of trade, hotels, industry, agriculture, and construction, especially since Lebanese citizens did not seek a job within these sectors. Unlike other foreign workers in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees consume and save their earnings inside Lebanon, therefore directly contributing to the balance of payments and to the Lebanese Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, recently because of the economic crisis and Covid-19 pandemic have caused many refugees to lose income source and incur new debt, creating hunger as well as mental and physical health problems

Unlike Lebanon, most Palestinian refugees in Jordan have full citizenship but a large percentage still live below the poverty line and poor access to healthcare and education.

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