News Report: March 2022

Weekly News Reports 2022

Articles and views shared in the Weekly News Report do not necessarily represent ARM’s views. Information in these articles has not been fact-checked by ARM and may contain some errors. ARM is simply compiling all news relevant to migrant communities to inform our advocacy efforts and to facilitate the work of organizations who cater to migrant communities.

MP and FPM Leader Calls for Return of Syrians ahead of Parliamentary Elections, Insists on Calling them Economic Immigrants [here]

The Member of Parliament and head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil posted a video as part of his electoral campaign calling for the return of Syrian refugees from Lebanon, and insisting on referring to them as “economic immigrants”. In the context of a wider populist campaign by FPM and similar parties to demonize Syrian refugees ahead of the upcoming elections, Bassil claimed that Syrians receive aid “despite being immigrants” and alleged that they are taking jobs away from Lebanese workers, once again without citing any numbers or data to support these generalizing claims and accusations.

Interactive Narration of Migrant Domestic Workers’ Journeys and Options after Arriving in Lebanon [here]

StoryLeb posted an interactive story narrating the typical journeys that migrant domestic workers go through after coming to work in Lebanon, with the few options they have to improve their conditions once abuse and mistreatment start at the employer’s house.

Housing Monitor’s Periodic Report for December 2021-January 2022 [here]

The Housing Monitor published its periodic report for the period between December 2021 and January 2022, documenting the calls received from tenants of different nationalities and different legal statuses (and consequently different rental agreements that are often only verbal due to lack of valid papers among non-Lebanese residents).

Most callers were Syrian refugees and many others were migrants from Cameroon and Kenya. The calls reported being demanded to pay higher rent in LBP or in fresh USD, which violates the rental law that forbids the landlord from increasing the rent before the end of the third year.

Ministry of Labor Requires Institutions Hiring Foreigners to Pay their Dues to NSSF [here]

The Minister of Labor issued a memo requiring institutions that hire non-Lebanese employees to pay their dues to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as a condition to obtain work permits for their foreign workers. This memo follows the trend of retracting foreign employees’ registration from the NSSF by employers after the work permits are issued.

Minister of Displaced Pushes for Return of Syrian Refugees [here]

The Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine urged for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees, to whom he referred as “migrants”, in a meeting with the permanent resident of the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon following his visit to Syria to coordinate the return with the Syrian government.

​​Ministry of Labor Issues Statement on Conditions of Migrant Domestic Workers, Asks NGOs for Help in Investigating irregular Workers [here]

The Ministry of Labor (MoL) issued a statement on labor conditions in the country announcing its plans to launch research efforts into inspecting the working conditions of migrant domestic workers to know the extent to which employers are abiding by the clauses of the standard unified contract; pledging to fulfill the rights of workers whose rights are found to be violated.

The statement also requested support from civil society and non-governmental organizations and asked them to volunteer for the inspection due to the insufficient number of inspectors working at MoL and the lack of financial resources. The inspection would entail visiting employers’ houses and reporting back to the MoL who would be supervising the entire process.

Statement by Honorary Consulate of Nepal on Employing Domestic Workers under Nepal’s Ongoing Ban and Including Domestic Work in Labor Law [here]

The honorary consulate of Nepal in Lebanon released a statement about the possibility of employing new domestic workers from the South Asian country that has been imposing a ban on citizens from working in Lebanon since 2008 given that domestic work is not subject to the jurisdiction and protection of the Labor Law.

The statement called for the inclusion of domestic work in the labor law to protect Nepalese domestic workers, and emphasized the widespread violations of domestic workers by employers.

Report on New SUC Draft and its Setbacks [here]

An article by Al-Akhbar detailed the major setbacks included in the new draft of the standard unified contract (SUC) for domestic work proposed by the Ministry of Labor (MoL), which was met with rejection by the Council of State (Shura Council). The Council stated that issuing a new draft of the contract does not fall under the jurisdiction of the MoL seeing as domestic work is not under the Labor Law, despite the following facts:

  • Previous drafts were passed by previous Ministers of Labor, and the current contract has been in place since 2009 and was merely amended by former Minister Lamia Yammine and again now by current Minister Mostafa Bayram;

  • The new draft was not coupled with an implementation mechanism nor did it include a clause stipulating the mandatory signature of employers. Thus the draft is not obligatory to abide by on the side of employers;

  • Abiding by the decisions of the Council of State is not obligatory, according to the Minister’s legal adviser who added that the Ministry was intending to send the new draft to notaries to make it a customary practice. However, a setback here is that employers can appeal to block the Ministry’s draft and not abide by the contract, and can unfortunately win.

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