The Lebanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Houssam Diab, recently announced that the Lebanese government has stopped issuing domestic work visas to Nigerians.
In an interview with DailyTrust, Houssam Diab, the Lebanese government is canceling domestic work visa to Nigerians due to different abuse being met on them.
He says, “As I said, the Lebanese community has been in Nigeria for more than 100 years, and family relationships and acquaintances have been formed. A lot of Nigerians go to work in Lebanon. But lately, we face a problem where some of them were abused and this has really raised concerns, so the Lebanese Government has moved in to ensure we right the wrong. We found out that a lot of Nigerians go to work as helps and the way it is done in Lebanon is that they go through an agency (all legal).
However, what happens is that the work visa is not issued by the embassy here, the agency issues the visa directly from the Security-General in Lebanon, so the work visa is issued from Lebanon to the agency and we don’t know about it at the embassy. The status of Nigerians going to Lebanon to work is legal but the problem happens at the level of the employer when they get there. It is the agency that finds them an employer and some of them when linked with the employers claim they are abused or mistreated.
But let me stress that the numbers are really small; we are talking about 77 cases in 2 years of Nigerians who were left by their employers and were not paid or suffered some form of abuse by their employers. So, the embassy got involved when we learned about it, and the Lebanese community here also financed their return and their quarantine fee.
There are only 10 Nigerians who we were not able to clear, among the 77, so they were left in Lebanon because there were cases against them but we are working on those cases to make sure they are dropped and then, we can bring them back home.
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So, what we did is in order not to have more problems, I asked the Security-General in Lebanon to stop issuing work visas for Nigerian workers which took effect from May 1 this year, so we don’t have new cases. That was what we discussed with the chairman of NIDCOM and she raised the issue of the 10 Nigerians still in Lebanon and I explained to her that we are working daily on the issue till we clear them and bring them back home.”