Syrian Refugees
in Lebanon
1 in 4 people
in lebanon is a syrian refugee
 Since the start of the crisis in 2011 little more than 1% of Syrians have departed Lebanon through the UNHCR resettlement program
Since the start of the crisis in 2011 only around 1% of Syrians have departed Lebanon through the UNHCR resettlement program
Not Departed Lebanon through UNHCR resettlement program
Departed through UNHCR resettlement program
Barriers to accessing resettlement opportunities
  • Lack of available resettlement places to meet the need
  • Embassy and UNHCR capacity constraints to submit and process cases
  • European quotas for the number of refugees with serious medical needs who can be accepted
  • Refugees who lack UNHCR registration face greater difficulties accessing resettlement
  • Refugees who still have family members living in Syria may be deemed ineligible
In a context where there is no solution to the Syrian conflict on the horizon, safe and voluntary return to Syria is not currently an option. It is also not viable to expect Lebanon – a tiny country of only 4.5 million people – to continue to host 1.5 million refugees (1 in 4 people living in the country). Resettlement and humanitarian admissions pathways for refugees from Syria living in Lebanon must therefore be prioritized and expanded by UN member states. Lebanon currently shoulders a disproportionate share of the global responsibility to provide protection to the millions of people who have fled Syria, hosting 5-10% of the total global refugee population. However, since 2011, less than 20,000 Syrian refugees living in Lebanon have been resettled through the UNHCR resettlement program. This is only a little more that 1% of the estimated number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. There are not enough resettlement places available to meet the needs for resettlement from Lebanon, and Embassy and UNHCR capacity constraints to submit and process cases from Lebanon create further challenges. In addition, UNHCR registration of refugees in Lebanon ceased in May 2015, and it can be much harder for refugees who lack UNHCR registration to access resettlement pathways. At the same time, many countries around the world are making it increasingly difficult for refugees to access asylum outside of Syria’s neighboring countries, including increasing border restrictions to prevent the onward movement of refugees and making family reunification more difficult.
over 66%
of Syrian refugee households do not feel they can access medical care whenever they need it
Feel they do not
have access to care
Feel they do
have access to care
Barriers to Accessing Healthcare :
  • High costs and limited subsidies for secondary and tertiary care, with virtually no coverage for chronic and catastrophic illnesses
  • Physical access restrictions, exacerbated by transportation costs, lack of valid residence, and curfews
  • Lack of awareness of available subsidized services and assistance options
  • Discrimination and denial of services by hospitals and primary healthcare centers
  • Overcrowding and lack of required treatments at subsidized facilities
 over 50% of Syrian refugee Children in Lebanon aged 3-18 are estimated to be out of School.
over 50%
of Syrian refugee Children in Lebanon aged 3-18 are estimated to be out of School
Out of school
Enrolled In school
Barriers to Education include
  • Poverty forcing families to send children to work
  • Skill gaps and other difficulties to re-integrate into education after years out of school
  • Unaffordable transportation costs and protection concerns if schools are too far away
  • Psycho-social support needs for crisis-affected children
  • Insufficient capacity in existing public school facilities
  • Drop outs due to bullying & violence
The Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education has shown strong leadership in opening up Lebanese schools to Syrian children. However, despite significant advances in enrollment, over 50% of Syrian children – more than 235,000 – are still out of school. Less than a quarter of adolescent Syrian children are in school. There are many reasons for limited enrollment and retention. Poverty is forcing an increasing number of families to withdraw children from school and send children to work (especially once they turn 13). Gaps in education created over years of displacement make it hard to re-integrate into formal education, and children often need to catch up on basic skills like numeracy and literacy. In addition, distance to schools may mean unaffordable transportation costs and protection concerns such as traveling after dark or crossing checkpoints (especially for students 15 or older who lack valid residence permits). Children affected by war and displacement often need psychosocial support, without which they are at higher risk for learning difficulties and dropouts. There have also been drop outs attributed to discrimination, bullying and violence. As absorbing such a large influx of additional students within such a short period of time would be an enormous challenge for any public school system, there are also capacity constraints in existing public school facilities which were already in need of infrastructure and other investments before the crisis..
Legal Status
As many as 70% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon lack valid residence permits.
up to 70%
of Syrian refugees in Lebanon
lack valid residence permits
Have valid residence
Lack valid residence
Barriers to obtaining and maintaining valid residence
  • Syrians must meet costly and difficult requirements to obtain or renew residence permits.
  • Syrian refugees registered with UNHCR were until recently required to sign a ‘pledge not to work’ (and in some locations still are).
  • Syrian refugees who are not registered with UNHCR must find a Lebanese sponsor.
  • It has not been possible since May 2015 for Syrians to register with UNHCR.
  • All Syrians age 15 or older must pay $200 per year for residence permits.
As a result of the Government of Lebanon’s January 2015 regulations, Syrian refugees in Lebanon lacking valid residence permits increased from around 9% in January 2015 to an estimated 70% in August 2015. Refugees who lack valid residence permits are at heightened risk of arrest at checkpoints and during raids, short and long-term detention, ill-treatment, and issuance of departure orders, alongside significant limitations on freedom of movement (especially for men of working age). Limited freedom of movement is one of the root causes of the significant increase in poverty because it severely curtails access to livelihoods and makes accessing basic services (like education and healthcare) more difficult. Refugees who lack valid residence are also unable to seek legal assistance from authorities without risking arrest, and face significant difficulties in obtaining civil documentation, such as birth certificates (which may affect the ability of children to claim their Syrian nationality and return when the war ends). Lack of valid residence, combined with limited livelihood opportunities, results in feelings of insecurity and hopelessness, and is leading to an increase in harmful coping strategies such as child labor.
Poverty & Livelihoods
 70% of Syrian Refugees and 89% of Palestine refugees from Syria ARE LIVING IN POVERTY IN LEBANON
of Syrian refugees
of palestine refugees
from syria
are living in poverty
Barriers to earning sufficient income to meet basic needs
  • Only 27% of Syrian refugees reported working at least one day in the previous month
  • Average daily wage for Syrian refugees who can find work is just $15 per day
  • Abuse and exploitation are increasing, including child labor and non-payment of wages
  • A majority of Syrian refugees are vulnerable to arrest if they try to cross checkpoints to find jobs
  • Overall economic slowdown means less jobs available in construction and agriculture sectors
  • Only 7% of Syrian refugees and 6% of Palestine Refugees from Syria are food secure
Refugees in Lebanon must be able to work if they are to survive, but reports indicate that only 27% of adult Syrian refugees have worked at least one day in the past month. The Syria Crisis has impacted Lebanon’s economy and the economic slowdown means lower wages and less jobs in sectors that traditionally rely on Syrian labor, such as construction, agriculture and services. In addition, the majority of Syrian refugees lack valid residence permits, which puts them at risk of exploitation by employers and vulnerable to arrest if they try to cross checkpoints to find employment or if they approach authorities to report abuse. Many Syrian refugees have also been pushed into sponsorship arrangements to maintain their residence permits, making them particularly vulnerable to abuse, such as non-payment of wages. Humanitarian assistance provided to Syrian refugees is not nearly enough to meet the minimum cost of living (estimated at $571 per month for a family of five), and without the ability of refugees to earn sufficient income, the impacts are clear: average debt for Syrian refugee households is $940 in 2016 and has been increasing yearly; negative coping mechanisms such as child labor continue to increase; only 7% of Syrian refugees and 6% of Palestine refugees from Syria are food secure; 31% of Syrian refugee families who needed secondary healthcare in 2015 reported not being able to access it, largely due to financial issues; and 41% of Syrian refugees live in sub-standard buildings or informal tent settlements.