Syrian Refugees

ILO’s Response to Syrian Refugee Crisis

Background

The Syrian refugee crisis remains one of the largest, most protracted and complex humanitarian emergencies of modern times. The effects of this conflict are increasingly spilling over into economic and social spheres - leading to stalled economic activity, loss of income, and shrinking access to quality public services in host countries that already had to contend with difficult socioeconomic conditions before the Syrian crisis began. The Syrian Refugee Crisis has captured international attention due to its unprecedented scale of population displacement. The countries receiving refugees face major challenges in dealing with the situation and in supporting host communities. While addressing humanitarian needs has been at the forefront of the response, increasingly the focus is shifting to livelihoods support. Within this context, the ILO is playing a significant role in the livelihoods cluster of the response in the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) coordinated by UN agencies and development partners. For this purpose, the ILO Office for Turkey has intensified its efforts to provide ILO input into a UN-wide proposal (particularly on the issues of livelihoods, protection and education). In addition, the ILO has progressively been working on social integration and inclusion issues that involve child labour, women’s empowerment etc.

The ILO Office for Turkey is working in close coordination and collaboration with a wide range of public institutions at central and local levels. These institutions are mainly Ministry of Labour and Social Security, General Directorate of International Labour Force, Turkish Employment Agency, General Directorate of Migration Management, Ministry of National Education, General Directorate of Lifelong Learning, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, South-eastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA), Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa Chambers of Artisans and Craftsmen, Harran Governorate, municipalities dealing with Syrian refugees in the labour market.

In 2015, ILO Office for Turkey has introduced a comprehensive strategy and inclusive response towards Syrian refugee crisis which has become one of the most important agenda items for the ILO Office for Turkey. The ILO’s strategy consists of three main pillars:
  • Increase the availability of a skilled, competent and productive labour supply to facilitate access to decent work for Syrian refugees and Turkish host communities;
  • Support an enabling environment for business development and economic growth in identified sectors and geographic locations to address job creation and stimulate entrepreneurship opportunities for Syrian refugees and Turkish host communities;
  • Provide support to strengthen labour market governance institutions and mechanisms to assist Turkey in implementing inclusive development strategies.

Within the scope of this strategy, these are the projects carried out by the ILO;

‘ILO’s Response to Syrian Influx in Turkey’ Project

Duration: 1 June 2015 - 31 July 2016
Funded by: ILO Core Voluntary Funding (RBSA)
Targeted Provinces: Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Ankara

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:
  1. To strengthen national and local capacities to deal with refugee crisis in Turkey.
  2. To improve knowledge-base on the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the labour market and child labour.
  3. To promote labour market integration of Syrian refugees and host communities.
  4. To raise awareness among refugees, host communities and wider stakeholders on the new legislative measures and its implications on labour market.
Achievements
The achievements based on the objectives are as follows:

Regarding the first objective,
- A need assessment was conducted to contribute the capacity development of central and local level institutions working for Syrian crisis with high level representatives of public institutions applied surveys for officials in Ankara, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Kilis.
- A regional steering committee meeting was held in Gaziantep with the participation of local authorities. “Labour Market Impact of Syrians in Turkey and their Employability" event was organized in Ankara by the ILO in order to share the preliminary findings of four new ILO field surveys with central and local stakeholders, embassies, universities and relevant NGOs.
- The workshop “Labour Market Problems Faced by Syrian Workers, Employers and Entrepreneurs and Suggestions for Solution” in Ankara in order to determine the Syrian workers’ and employers’ problems encountered in labour market.
- A regional dialogue meeting was organized in participation with high-level representatives from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt to exchange experiences and formulate sustainable policies and programmes that respond to the labour market impacts of the Syrian refugee crisis in July 2015 in Istanbul.

For the second objective,
- A situation analysis for Syrian children working on streets in Ankara carried out with Hacettepe University, Children's Rights Research and Application Center and in association with Ankara Provincial Directorate of Family and Social Policies (ASPİM) in order to identify the demographic and socioeconomic status of children working on streets and their families; to explore the causes of working on streets, working and living conditions and problems.
- Within the scope of this field research, two workshops for Ankara Provincial Action Plan on Children Working in Streets were organized jointly by ILO Office in Turkey and ASPİM in Ankara with the purpose of finalizing the Ankara Provincial Action Plan.
- A field research entitled “Employers’ Outlook to the Employment of Syrians in Şanlıurfa” was jointly conducted by the ILO Office for Turkey, Harran University and Karacadağ Development Agency in order to reveal the attitude of Turkish employers towards the labour force participation of Syrians, to investigate employment possibilities and to recommend policies on the Syrian community in Şanlıurfa.

For the third objective,
- A pilot model was developed for vocational training at Gaziantep-Nizip camps in order to ensure compliance with the economic and social life of Syrian refugees in Turkey and facilitate their access to the labour market.
- An evaluation report for vocational training programmes to be delivered to Syrians and locals was also conducted for Şanlıurfa city center and sheltering camps in order to identify the proper vocational training considering the needs, opportunities and challenges. 277 Syrians and host community members have benefitted from the vocational educational training programmes in Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa and provided with certificates which will contribute to enhance their employability.
- Vocational, basic skills and Turkish language trainings carried out in ÇATOMs were also covered by the project in cooperation with ‘Improving Livelihoods and Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities’ project.

Regarding the fourth objective,
- Informative meetings were conducted by close cooperation with the MoLSS for employers’ organizations, public institutions, NGOs and Syrians on Regulation on Work Permits for the Syrians under temporary protection.
- Local media seminars were conducted with local media representatives in order to increase awareness on the use of a positive and anti-discriminatory language.
- A communication strategy was developed to give effect to the work permits regulation and raise awareness of Syrians, host communities, employers and wider stakeholders.
- “Syrians under Temporary Protection” booklets, “Work Permits for Foreigners” booklets were prepared in both Turkish and Arabic in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and printed by the ILO Office for the Turkey in order to inform Syrian and Turkish employers and workers and to raise their awareness on the importance of formal employment, work permits and application process.

‘Improving Livelihoods and Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities’ Project

Duration: 30 September 2015 - 30 September 2016
Funded by: US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)
Targeted Provinces: Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Ankara

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:
  1. To increase institutional and technical capacities of relevant public institutions at local level to better tackle the labour market challanges of Syrian refugees and host communities.
  2. To increase employability of Syrian refugees and host communities through skills development and vocational trainings.
  3. To raise awareness on the labour market challanges and opportunities as well as legislative measures for Syrians and host communities in the target provinces.

Achievements
The achievements based on the objectives are as follows:

Regarding the first objective,
- Central and local level steering committee meetings were conducted with the participation of the stakeholders working in the field of vocational training and employment of Syrians.
- Provincial Employment and Vocational Training Board (PEVTB) meetings were held in Şanlıurfa and Kilis with the specific agenda on the labour market challenges of the Syrians and host communities.

For the second objective,
- Local labour market needs in Şanlıurfa and Kilis were identified in order to verify priority areas.
- Consultation meetings with the relevant local stakeholders were held accordingly in Şanlıurfa and Kilis to compile views and data on local labour markets.
- A survey was conducted in temporary sheltering centres in Şanlıurfa and Kilis to map the vocational skills, language proficiency and training needs of Syrians.
- On the basis of the findings of field studies conducted, priorities for vocational, technical and skills trainings were identified to be delivered and trainings in-out of the temporary sheltering centres were carried out for the sake of increase in the employability of Syrian refugees and host communities.
- Around 1500 Syrians and host community members have benefitted from the vocational, basic skills, Turkish language and entrepreneurship training programmes and provided with certificates which will contribute to enhance their employability.

Regarding the third objective,
- Informative meetings were conducted by close cooperation with the MoLSS for employers’ organizations, public institutions, NGOs and Syrians on Regulation on Work Permits for the Syrians under temporary protection.
- Local media seminars were conducted with local media representatives in order to increase awareness on the use of a positive and anti-discriminatory language.
- A National Conference on improving livelihoods and decent work opportunities for Syrians and host communities was held in September 2016.

‘Improving Labour Market Integration of Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Turkey’ Project

Duration: 30 September 2016 - 29 September 2017
Funded by: US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)
Targeted Provinces: Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin, Hatay

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:
  1. To strengthen institutional and technical capacities at local and national levels for provision of quality employment services for Syrian refugees and host community members.
  2. To enhance labour market integration of Syrian refugees and host communities through improving the enabling environment for employability and job creation
  3. o raise awareness of Syrian refugees, host communities, employers and wide stakeholders on relevant legislation and the importance of formal work and to enhance the knowledge-base through studies and research.

‘Promoting Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities’ Project

Duration: 1 August 2016 - 31 January 2018
Funded by: ILO Core Voluntary Funding (RBSA)
Targeted Provinces: Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Mardin, Ankara

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:
  1. To improve institutional and operational capacities of national and local public institutions as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations to better tackle labour market challenges.
  2. To improve employability and employment opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities through vocational, technical and basic skills development trainings.
  3. To support cooperative interventions in order to increase formal employability and labour market access of Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey.
  4. To raise awareness of Syrian refugees, host communities, employers and wide stakeholders on public employment services and new legislation on work permits.

Key Partners

  • Ministry of Labour and Social Security
  • Ministry of Family and Social Policies
  • Ministry of National Education
  • Ministry of Development
  • Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management
  • Directorate General of International Labour Force
  • Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Prime Ministry
  • Turkish Employment Agency
  • Southeast Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration
  • The European Union
  • UN Agencies
  • Chambers of Commerce and Industry
  • Local Governments
  • Trade Unions and Employers’ Organization
  • Relevant NGOs