Lebanon sees a sharp decline in foreign employment

The economic-financial crisis that has gripped Lebanon since end of 2019 has changed many of the Lebanese habits and behaviors, including the dependence on foreign domestic workers. The number of foreign domestic workers has dramatically declined in 2020 and stabilized over the first nine months of 2021, meaning that those whose financial situation has deteriorated have laid off their domestic workers while wealthy people have retained them. 

Foreign workers

The number of foreign workers holding work permits (in addition to the 200,000 illegal workers) reached 247,088 in 2019, of whom 43,825 were new workers who traveled to Lebanon for the first time and 203,263 had been in Lebanon for more than a year. It has decreased to 157,105 in 2020, i.e. a decline of 36.4% or 89,983 workers.

During the three quarters of 2021, the number of new foreign workers has increased to 18,124 compared to 13,467 during the same period of 2020 and to 82,000-86,000 in the previous years.

A table showing the number of work permits granted to foreigners (2017-2021).

Source: Information International based on the Ministry of Labor and the General Directorate of General Security data.