Public Debate on the Options for Palestinian Refugees in Practicing Liberal Professions in the Lebanese Labor Market Today
13, April, 2016

Palestinian students Fund Participates on the 13th of April in a workshop entitled “Public debate on the Options for Palestinian Refugees in Practicing Liberal Professions in the Lebanese Labor Market Today”.

The workshop was organized by Common Space Initiative and The Resource Center for Employment Promotion and Social Protection (R-CEP) in partnership with the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Development Program, and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Forum.

The workshop addressed the “Options of Palestinian Refugees in Practicing Liberal Professions in the Lebanese Labor Market Today”.

The Head of the Order of Nurses, members of the “Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Forum”, representatives from the Ministry of Health and from the “Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee”, in addition to diplomatic delegations, international organizations, and Media outlets participated in the event.

After welcoming the participants, and following a speech delivered by the ILO representative who stressed on the  ILO’s continuous efforts to improve the work conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the “Common Space Initiative” presented an overview of its work as well as of the work of the “Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Forum” that aims , in cooperation with the “Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee”, at contributing to the development of clear Lebanese national policy with respect to Palestinian refugees’ presence that is based on the full respect of the Lebanese State’s sovereignty and the Lebanese citizens on one hand , and on the support of Palestinian refugees’ basic human rights until their return to their homes on the other .

During the first session, the findings of two studies – a legal and a field study – were discussed. These two studies have been conducted with the aim to provide accurate information that would serve the development of policies in this regard. The legal study, entitled “Labor Right of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon – Access to Liberal Professions”, has been conducted by lawyers Nizar Saghieh and Karim Nammour. The field study entitled “Reality on the Access of Palestinian Refugees to Liberal Professions in Lebanon” was conducted by Dr. Mahmoud el-Ali. The researchers gave a thorough presentation of the methodologies and findings of both studies. This was followed by a discussion on current challenges that Palestinian professionals in Lebanon face; amongst these are the following: Restricting the right to practice liberal professions to Lebanese nationals; the reciprocity condition; the eligibility to practice the profession in the country of origin. These conditions constitute unrealizable conditions for professionals among Palestinian refugees, given that they do not belong to a state that can apply the reciprocity condition.

During the second session, a thorough presentation was made on the outcomes of the dialogue held in 2015 by the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Forum, addressing Palestinian refugees access to the nursing profession. Nursing has been chosen as a case study, knowing that the number of Lebanese nationals practicing this profession does not meet the need in the labor market (constituting a problem for employers especially hospitals), and that a number of Palestinians are qualified to practice this profession. However, the law regulating the nursing profession does not allow the latter to practice nursing. A number of conclusions and suggestions proposed by the Order of nurses have been discussed, , including legal entry points and practical measures that would facilitate the access of Palestinian refugees to practice the profession under the law  .

In conclusion, discussions highlighted the need to continue the dialogue and the work with all concerned parties to find practical and legal entry points that would serve both the interests of professionals among Lebanese citizens and those of Palestinian refugees