While the move would enable more Lebanese to find job opportunities, it was met with criticism in Beirut.
Lebanon launched a platform to provide job opportunities in Qatar on Monday, as Beirut faces an employment decline in light of its worst-ever economic crisis.
Beirut’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that caretaker Minister of Labour Mustafa Bayram launched the platform on the labour ministry’s website.
“We are open to any cooperation with any sister country, as we believe in Arab connection and reject separation between Arabs,” Bayram told the press in Lebanon.
Bayram noted the platform was finalised following “huge efforts” by the ministry and “extensive” consultation held with Qatar’s Minister of Labour Ali Al Marri.
According to AFP, the talks were held last month at an Arab Labour Conference in Cairo. The platform also aims to facilitate jobs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, set to kick off in Qatar next month.
Citing Bayram, NNA reported that the platform allows Qatari employers to search for potential employees based on their required job vacancies. The Lebanese minister noted that his ministry has “no role in the recruitment process”.
“The interaction will be between the private sector and the Lebanese youth,” said Bayram, adding that “the platform is accessible to all Lebanese across the country.”
Commenting on the travel logistics, Bayram said his ministry will help fast-track passport processing for those travelling to work in Qatar. This comes as the government in Beirut continues to face obstacles in providing passports due to a shortage of printing material.
Criticism in Lebanon
While the move would enable more Lebanese to find job opportunities amid multi-faceted crises, it was met with criticism in Beirut, most of which centered on the perceived lack of effort by Lebanese authorities to provide employment at home in a bid to boos the local market.
“Is it not the job and responsibility of the Minister of Labor to secure job opportunities for the Lebanese in Lebanon???” said one Twitter user.
Another person tweeted,”Dystopia is Lebanon’s Ministry of Labour promoting job opportunities in Qatar for the Lebanese. Shamelessness is taking the Minister of Labor 12 months of ‘hard labor’ to tell us that the only thing he could do is ship the Lebanese abroad.”
Lebanon’s unemployment rate reached 29.6% at the beginning of the year, AFP reported, citing government and UN figures. In response, large populations have been leaving the country to seek better opportunities abroad.
The labour market was particularly hit by Lebanon’s worsening economic crisis, with companies struggling to pay employees in the US dollar while the local currency hit an all-time low.
After the Lebanese currency lost 95% of its value, locals were left unable to survive under continuing inflation, creating a large rate of poverty.
Many in Lebanon are also unable to access their savings at banks across the country, which have been targeted by a number of break ins by locals desperate for their money.
Lebanon’s worsening situation was exacerbated by the Covid-19 outbreak and the tragic Beirut port blast in 2020. At least 200 people were killed by the explosion, and families of the victims have continued to demand accountability two years on.
Despite billions of aid sent to the country in response to the tragedy, Lebanon has yet to financially recover. Qatar was the first country to offer direct support for the Lebanese in the aftermath of the explosion, pledging more than $70 million in donations.