By Dr. Guita Hourani

The European Scientific Journal (ESJ) published in June 2014 a study by Dr. Guita Hourani titled, Bilateral Relations, Security and Migration: Lebanese Expatriates in the Gulf States.”

The study addresses the deterioration in relations between the Gulf States and Lebanon, especially since the onset of the Syrian crisis. This study is concerned with the impact of these relations on the well-being of the estimated 400,000 Lebanese expats working in the Gulf States. The study turned on the hypotheses that (a) bilateral relations can affect population mobility and, in turn, that bilateral relations affect population mobility; (b) when bilateral relations deteriorate between home and host countries, it negatively affects immigrants; and (c) there is a clear correlation between bilateral relations and migrant well-being. To test the hypotheses, Dr. Hourani used multiple methodologies and harnessed triangulation between literature on migration, bilateral relations and security, media review, and a survey questionnaire.

The target population for the survey questionnaire consisted of all Lebanese working in the Gulf States. This questionnaire asked the cohort about their gender, religious affiliation, and their origins by province in Lebanon; whether they were concerned over the deteriorating relations; whether they had made contingency plans should they be deported; and how they assessed the importance of the GCC to Lebanon.

This study found that policies of the countries of origin remain significant for the immigrants’ well-being in the host countries. Deteriorating bilateral relations between home and host countries has a considerable effect on the immigrants. Every public event or incident that impacts the countries of migration has the potential to affect the well-being of the immigrants, an effect that is now magnified through the real-time environment of the internet and telecommunications. Furthermore, national politics and economies are increasingly becoming heavily intertwined with security, continuing to make migration such a fraught political issue. Countries, therefore, are compelled to balance security with their needs for foreign labor (Givens 2010); thus, “Good relationships between home and host countries generate significant well-being externalities for those who live abroad” (Becchetti, Clark and Ricca 2011).    

The study concludes that despite the unlikely event that the GCC would engage in the mass deportation of Lebanese nationals given the detrimental effects this action will have on various sectors of their economies, Lebanon should pay close attention to these bilateral relations, if for no other reason than to consider its hundreds of thousands of nationals working in the region. Consequently, the study called for attention to the fact there is an urgent necessity for Lebanon to wisely adopt a policy that protects its long-term interest with the GCC and to formulate a comprehensive national emigration policy, especially since the Lebanese are one of Lebanon’s main natural resources and their earnings and remittances make up one quarter of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Lebanon, the study concluded, should deal wisely with the situation before it metastasizes.

[The study can be obtained through a gratis open access source

available at]
Rad the full study:
Bilateral Relations, Security and Migration: Lebanese Expatriates in the Gulf States.”

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