The Kafala system is supposed to support people in domestic or construction employment - but it is often exploited and misused.
Ironically, oligarchy-affiliated media platforms, including its educated and respectable figures, blame migrant workers for exporting US dollars out of the Lebanese market, while failing to note how the same workers augment the wealth of investors who exploit them.
Continuing his examination of migration in the COVID world, Edwin Tran examines how the pandemic has exposed risks in Lebanon and the wider region’s Kafala immigration system, and how this has resulted in extremely precarious positions for migrant workers amongst the collapse of the Lebanese Lira, which has rendered their meagre earnings almost worthless.
A Nigerian domestic worker who documented her abuse by former employers in Lebanon has arrived back home following a months-long ordeal that saw her arrested and accused of attempted murder.
Western analysts often regard the Gulf as a strange anomaly among capitalist states. In fact, it has the same underlying dynamics as capitalist countries elsewhere, and it is powerfully shaping the politics of the Middle East.
More than fifty women were abandoned in front of the Ethiopian embassy under the blazing sun, in a deliberate process of desertion by their employers (sponsors) under whom they had worked for years. They were left stranded in front of the embassy without receiving due salaries and without being provided the bare minimum of food and health security.
In Lebanon, another violent round of street protests is underway as price hikes and unemployment continue, driven by an unprecedented economic crisis that started last year. In the shadow of that crisis is the country's estimated a quarter million domestic workers, who are foreigners. They've been tossed out from jobs and are helplessly waiting for a way out. Stephanie Freid has the story.
They were promised the world but ended up in a Lebanese household. This is the story of many domestic workers in Lebanon. With a 70-year-old sponsor system still in place, domestic workers are tied to their employers with little or no basic rights. The ‘Kafala’ system is the major problem behind what we have been seeing in Beirut in the last months.
After she was fired without warning from her job as a housekeeper, the Ethiopian woman said, she was dumped at the side of the highway by her Lebanese employer.