In the light of the economic crisis and deterioration of their situation, many foreign workers have gathered in front of their embassies, asking for an expedited exit visa to return home.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International stated that more than 250,000 migrant workers are suffering in Lebanon. These workers are excluded from the labor-law and its protection.
In Bir El Hassan, Beirut, hundreds of Bangladeshi migrants gathered outside their embassies, trying to gain entrance and get their exit visas to leave Lebanon. During their forceful attempt to enter the embassy, police used rubber pipes to beat them back.
The economic crisis spiraling out of control has everyone scared of what is to come next, especially the migrant community. Months of economic deterioration have left many without work.
Lebanese workers or not, incomes are limited, prices skyrocketed, and banks are further limiting withdrawals. Foreign workers are brought into Lebanon on a sponsorship system that makes them especially vulnerable to exploitation.
Most of these migrants have families back home that depend on them and their income. They expect money every month from their daughters, mothers, fathers, and husbands who left them behind so they can sustain them.
With the devaluation of the Lebanese currency, the scarcity of dollars, and the high exchange rates, Lebanese employers have been forced to pay the migrants in Lebanese pounds, halving the value of their salaries.
According to the International Labor Organization, the average salary of a domestic worker in Lebanon is less than 300$. To be able to send money back home, these migrants are now forced to buy dollars at higher prices, reducing their overall earning.
Abdullah Al Mamun, head of Chancery and Consul at the Bangladeshi Embassy, revealed that 2,500 migrants without residence permits have applied to the embassy to expedite their exit visa requests, according to the Daily Star.
This huge number has put a strain on the embassy that is trying to accommodate as many as possible.
The situation has become unmanageable for many Lebanese and foreigners as well. Monthly income is no longer enough to cover a quarter of the expenses amidst the current crisis.