Also impacted by the explosion is Lebanon’s migrant worker population, the majority of whom are female domestic workers sponsored by the national visa (kafala) system. In the last six months, these workers have faced increased rates of unemployment, homelessness, and discrimination, with reports of feeling abandoned and forgotten by their employers and the Lebanese government. According to a post-explosion needs assessment, the needs of migrant households notably vary from Lebanese households, with migrant households prioritizing acute needs such as cash and food followed by shelter repairs and medication.
Furthermore, access to healthcare for migrant workers is usually contingent on the presence of a sponsor and the presentation of a work permit. To fill this gap, organizations like Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have set up a medical helpline specifically for migrant workers—which has reached nearly 170 migrant workers since November 2020. Nonetheless, the deteriorating situation across the country continues to threaten the well-being and security of migrant workers and requires urgent attention from both the local and global community.