Labor Minister: To Facilitate Work Permit Procedures for Palestinians
Labor Minister Camille Abu Suleiman on Thursday said that he had given the necessary instructions to concerned sides to facilitate the process of granting work permits to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon after a wave of protests.
"The Ministry of Labor is only enforcing the law, and we want to treat Palestinian workers according to the law, just the way we treat Lebanese workers,” the Minister said in a press conference he held at the Parliament.
Palestinian refugees protested Tuesday in the streets of Beirut and in refugee camps against the labor ministry cracking down on businesses employing foreign workers without a permit.
Last month, the ministry gave companies a one-month deadline to acquire the necessary work permits.
After the grace period expired last week, it started inspections, closing down non-compliant establishments and issuing others with warnings.
Abu Suleiman called for an immediate halt of street riots, confirming that the Lebanese Labor Law protected Palestinian workers from arbitrary expulsion.
He assured the decision did not target Palestinian nationals: "We continue to implement the law, and there are no decision against Palestinian nationals. We are implementing laws that facilitate their work conditions.”
He concluded saying: “I have explained to the Palestinian parties the truth about what we’re doing and explained to them that employment contracts actually helped Palestinian workers.”
Critics have said the measure essentially targets Syrians who have fled the war next door, but Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon also fear they will be hit.