We are three days away from the deadline for expatriate registration for parliamentary elections. The Lebanese business councils in the Arabian Gulf sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this week, complaining about the Ministry’s refusal to register residents abroad as holders of visitor visas, despite the fact that these visas are for work or family visits, their duration exceeds a year, and their owners will be in the country at the time of the election.
Thus far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not responded to this letter and has not considered this issue yet, despite the fact that the first stage of expatriate registration, during which holders of this type of visa had faced no problems, what happened to hundreds of applications put on hold? Is it related to the number of registrants, particularly in Asia, the majority of whom reside in Arab nations, which surpassed 45,000, three times the number of registrants in 2018?
It is well known that the problem of pending applications from visitor visa holders is also faced by expatriates in Africa, where Lebanese in African countries avoid paying the high cost of renewing their residence and instead resort to a visitor visa that they renew every period, and thus expatriates in Africa, while residing there, also face the problem of registering to vote if they were holding a visitor’s visa. Unfortunately, a huge number of them experienced the same issue.