Lebanon's Ministry of Industry issued a statement to factory owners on Wednesday urging them to comply with a directive that "prohibits the employment of Syrian workers without legal documents and licenses," as outlined in a circular released on Sept. 14.
The circular was enacted after a Council of Ministers meeting, which introduced measures designed to significantly restrict the entry and movement of Syrian migrants who illegally entered Lebanese territory.
The document states that "the ministry will take steps and measures to verify compliance with this circular by factories and ensure its enforcement ... Factories failing to adhere to this directive risk suspension of their operations and the revocation of their licenses."
Since the onset of the Syrian war in 2011, approximately 1.5 million Syrians fled to Lebanon, making it the country with the highest number of migrants per capita in the world. While approximately 839,000 of the refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the exact number of Syrians in Lebanon is unknown as the Lebanese government ceased registering them in 2015.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon is a recurrent topic of public discourse in the country, with heightened intensity in recent months due to reports of an increase in their influx. On Sept. 11, the outgoing Council of Ministers implemented measures aimed at strongly restricting the entry and movement of Syrians who had entered Lebanese territory illegally. Additionally, they planned to send a delegation to Damascus to address the issue, although no date has been announced yet.