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Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have long been considered by some a burden on the Lebanese economy, turning a blind eye to the significant contributions that the Palestinian refugees are offering to the Lebanese economy.

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).


Law in force

 In order to benefit from the right to work in Lebanon, Palestinian refugees, just like all non-Lebanese citizens residing in Lebanon, are subject to the provisions of decree no. 1756 issued on September 18, 1964. Article 2 of the decree stipulates that all non-Lebanese citizens who wish to work in Lebanon (with or without compensation) must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Moreover, the decree mentions the possibility of granting the foreigner a work permit, provided that:
  - He is a specialist or an expert who cannot be replaced by a Lebanese citizen.
 -  He has been residing in Lebanon before January 1st, 1954, and has been working in an institution for a period not less than 9 consecutive months. 
-  He is married to a Lebanese citizen or born to a Lebanese mother (article 8).

      Furthermore, article 9 of the decree provides that a number of professions are exclusively reserved for Lebanese citizens and are set according to an annual decision issued by the Minister of Labor. 

      On June 27, 2005, the Minister of Labor Trad Hamadeh issued a ministerial decision bearing the number 67/1, whereby he authorized Palestinians born on Lebanese soil and officially registered in the records of the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and UNRWA to access 70 professions and occupations that had been previously withheld from them and reserved to Lebanese citizens only. 

      On August 24, 2010, the parliament amended by virtue of law 129 paragraph 3of article 59 of the Labor Law, granting some rights to the Palestinian refugees registered and residing in Lebanon. In fact, they were exempted from the reciprocity of treatment condition, and their work permits became free of charge. However, these amendments did not comprise the work of Palestinians in liberal professions; knowing that the latter are subject to special syndicalist regulations and legislations. 




      With regard to liberal professions, in accordance with the laws regulating liberal professions in Lebanon, whereby these professions are not subject to the provisions of the Labor Law nor to the Social Security Law but rather to its special laws and regulations, the practice of such professions is conditioned upon being affiliated to its related syndicates that are established according to laws. Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are not entitled to practice liberal professions such as law, engineering, medicine, pharmacy, and many others, given that some professions are still exclusively restricted to Lebanese citizens only, whereas other professions imposed conditions for non-Lebanese citizens that are practically unattainable by Palestinian refugees, such as the reciprocity condition.


LPDC Priority


LPDC has been carefully dealing with the Palestinian refugee labor issue in light of the legislative amendment of the Labor Law through law 129. This interest was clearly manifested by the fact that the key recommendation submitted by the Lebanese Working Group on Palestinian Refugee Affairs during its delegation’s visit to Prime Minister Salam on June 24, 2015 provided for the following: “Proposing to regulate the issuance of work permits for Palestinian refugee workers pursuant to the amendment of the Labor Law, which stipulates the cancellation of the reciprocity condition for 2010.”

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