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June 01, 2021 | 14 Pages | English | Daniel Garrote Sánchez
Wasted Potential: Mismatching Syrian Refugee Skills in the Lebanese Labor Market

Adult Syrian refugees in Lebanon are often portrayed as a homogeneous group of low-skilled workers. However, the reality is that Syrian refugees are much more varied in their educational levels and professional backgrounds and skills. LCPS conducted a survey in three mid-sized cities in Lebanon (Saida, Zahle, and Halba) in order to better understand the socio-economic situation of Syrian refugees and host communities in the country. We found that Syrian refugees have a wide range of skills and experiences that could benefit the Lebanese economy. Despite this, the only work available to Syrian refugees is predominantly in low-skilled, insecure, and precarious occupations such as day laborers in construction or agriculture. There are several political and legal barriers in place that prevent them from accessing the labor market in Lebanon. The underutilization of refugees’ skills not only reduces their capacity to sustain their livelihoods but also results in a loss of productivity and economic growth for the Lebanese economy as a whole. In a context of under-utilization of refugees’ skills, vocational and skill-formation programs commonly implemented tend to have little positive impacts. This brief ends with some policy recommendations on how to utilize Syrian refugee labor for their benefit and for the Lebanese economy as a whole.






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