The Legal Status of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
In October 2014, Lebanon’s Council of Ministers adopted a comprehensive policy on Syrian displacement, one explicit goal of which is to decrease the number of Syrians in Lebanon by reducing access to territory and encouraging return to Syria. This ambition is currently being implemented through the December 2014 General Security Office (GSO) new set of entry requirements for Syrians and new rules for Syrian nationals already in Lebanon applying for and renewing their residency permits.
This Working Paper explores the legal status of Syrianrefugees in Lebanon in light of the recent regulatory changes. It argues that these leave many refugees in a deeply precarious legal position. The strict entry requirements entail that many people attempting to flee the conflict in Syria cannot find safety in Lebanon, and the new criteria concerning the renewal or regularization of legal stay are so onerous and expensive that most people are unable to renew their permits. As such, an overwhelming majority of Syrian refugees are present in Lebanon without legal status. In essence, this paper therefore argues that Syrians in Lebanon are left with two options: they either leave the country or stay and accept exploitation.