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BLOMINVEST: High unemployment in Lebanon prompted by Syrian refugees

11-7-2018

Nahar newspaper published on Monday a study prepared by BLOMINVEST on the impact of Syrian refugees on the Lebanese labor market which focused on the key features of the national labor market pre and post Syrian conflict. According to the study, the Lebanese economy and the region’s economies were booming before the crisis (between 2007 and 2010) where unemployment in Lebanon was at its lowest. However, the survey noticed, the situation changed after war erupted in Syria in 2011, where the rate of unemployment soared as a result of the spillover of displaced Syrians who began to compete on jobs available for Lebanese nationals in the market. Joblessness increased after 2011 to reach 20%. Citing the report, An Nahar pointed out that the active Syrian labor force in Lebanon stood roughly at 384,000 persons according to the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) 2017-2022. This figure has pushed some 270,000 Lebanese workers out of work, said Marwan Mikhail, head of research at BLOMInvest Bank. Regarding salaries, the study showed that the average monthly wage of an employed Syrian refugee was LBP 418,000 (USD 278), while that of a Lebanese worker stood at LBP 900,000 (USD 600), noting that the work permits for Syrians averaged USD 200, that is lower than fees enforced on workers from other nationalities. Mikhael maintained that these factors keep competition tough and unfair. In conclusion, the study urged the Lebanese government to attach importance to the principle of equal opportunity between Syrian and foreign workers in the country on the one hand, and the Lebanese workers on the other, at all times and across all economic sectors. (An Nahar, July 9, 2018)

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