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French Version


Thousands of Lebanese apply for 250 public jobs

Desperate youths in Sidon hoping to work in public service posts line up for the scarce opportunities

Thousands of young Lebanese aspiring to work in the "public services" stood in long queues outside the Directorate General of Customs waiting to submit their application forms before the end of yesterday's deadline.

Approximately two months ago the Directorate announced it was recruiting new customs officers to fill numerous vacant positions, much to the relief of Lebanon's many unemployed.

The Daily Star toured the centers receiving application forms in Sidon and found long queues of applicants. So far more than 22,000 young people have ventured to the Directorate hoping to find a job.

Sadly, the Customs Office was only recruiting 250 personnel, either as civil servants or contractors.

As soon as any vacancy is announced, job seekers immediately rush to apply, even if the job they are applying for does not match their qualifications. Much of the time they are overqualified for the job.

Many of the applicants interviewed believed their chances of being accepted were almost nil due to the significant role played by nepotism in any recruitment process.

People often try to find jobs by seeking the assistance of influential people such as political figures; this currency of influence is known throughout Lebanon as wasta. Accordingly, those who are already well-connected are sure to get hired.

Mohammad R., who spoke with The Daily Star on the condition of keeping his family name anonymous for fear his application form would be neglected, said: "I immediately came to apply like the others here, knowing that I don't stand a chance. I have no connections with leaders or deputies or ministers."

Another applicant, Alaa Ayoub, who holds a Baccalaureate degree, was optimistic despite having waited in the long queue for over four hours.

"I applied because there are no jobs in Lebanon," Ayoub explained.

Nadim, another applicant, believes the Lebanese government is "smart because with the thousands of applicants it is receiving, and with applications costing $10 each; it is bringing money into its treasury all the same."

For many residents of remote villages, where unemployment is often very high, a job in the public service is their last resort.

Beirut 05-09-2005
Mohamed Zaatari
The Daily Star



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