Skills dimension of migration: Lebanon

A national strategy on migration would help to increase the employability of Lebanese returnees, refugees and migrants, new ETF research suggests.

The European Training Foundation (ETF) has presented findings of a research mapping skills policy and support measures in Lebanon at a high-level workshop and learning programme in Beirut.

The research, the first of its kind, shows that a national mobility strategy would help Lebanon better utilise the skills of refugees, foreign workers, migrants, expatriates and returnees.

Building upon the inventory of Migrant Support Measures from the Employment and Skills Perspective (MISMES), the ETF research identifies 17 measures in Lebanon that aim to support labour mobility, job and skills matching for expatriates and returnees, potential emigrants, foreign migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

Twelve MISMES focus on support for refugees, as well as ‘vulnerable’ Lebanese beneficiaries. Three focus on foreign migrant workers and two cater for Lebanese emigrants and expatriates.

The majority of measures are financed by the international donor community, including the EU which is the world’s leading donor in the international crisis response in Syria.

The research identifies several good practices, but shows overall that the number of beneficiaries remain very limited because MISMES are not part of a national system and continue to be externally funded. Overlap and duplication of services is also present.

The situation

According to the World Bank, in 2013 there were 810, 900 Lebanese living abroad, however more recent estimates by the General Directorate of Emigrants places that number as high as 10 million.

Lebanon is also an immigration destination for low-skilled workers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, with an estimated 1.6 million foreign workers in the country, employed primarily in construction, agriculture and domestic work.

The country is also dealing with a massive influx of refugees, an estimated 1.6 million from Syria, which is putting increased pressure on the community of low skilled workforce.

The ETF report calls for a national migration policy to increase employability of Lebanese emigrant workers wishing to return to Lebanon, foreign immigrant workers, and refugees.

‘Investing in promoting the employability of emigrants can positively impact on the development of both receiving countries and Lebanon, with economic returns that can be potentially much higher than the initial investment,’ the report says.

‘In order to embed migration policy interventions into national policies a large policy dialogue on migration and mobility should be launched.’

Learning programme

Working together with the Lebanese Ministry of Labour and National Employment Office, ETF labour market experts conducted a three-day intensive learning programme. Participants represented Ministry of Labour, the National Employment Office (NEO) and Guidance and Employment Offices of VET institutions. The programme was developed by the ETF in partnership with the Ministry and NEO.

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Skills dimension of migration: Lebanon