Syrian Refugees

ILO’s Response to 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;

“Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey” Project

Duration: 1 February 2018 - 31 January 2020 (24 months)
Funded by: “MADAD FUND” (EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis)
Targeted Provinces: Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Konya, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin, and Hatay.


WHAT
“Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey” project, with a 11,6 Million EUR EU contribution, and which is to last for 24 months; has been implemented by the ILO Office for Turkey since February 2018 in partnership with the IOM for specific activities. The overall coordination of the project on the government side will be conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The project is carried out with funding by the European Union.

This project has been implemented to strengthen the economic and social resilience of Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTP) and host communities in Turkey. It aims to increase the availability of a skilled, competent and productive labour supply to facilitate access to decent work for SuTP and Turkish host communities; to promote an enabling environment for business development and economic growth in identified sectors and geographic locations to address job creation and stimulate entrepreneurship opportunities for them; and to provide support to labour market governance institutions and mechanisms in implementing inclusive development strategies.

The proposed measures, targeting both Syrian refugees and host communities, are premised on the importance of taking immediate steps to support the creation of decent work opportunities through activities to strengthen labour market supply, as well as stimulating labour market demand through local economic and business development and engagement of the private sector in areas of high Syrian refugee populations.

WHY
The number of Syrians in Turkey includes more than 1.6 million persons of working age. Taking into account pre-war labour force participation rates in Syria as 43.4 % (ILOSTAT, 2011), it can be estimated that the Syrian labour force could be up to 700.000 in Turkey.

Syrians are mostly employed informally in low-skilled jobs such as seasonal agricultural work, construction, manufacturing and textiles. They work long hours in unsafe conditions, receiving below minimum wage rates. The issue of informality continues to be a major concern for government and social partners alike as this creates competitive advantage for those who hire Syrians informally. This has a knock-on effect creating downward pressure on wages and working conditions for all workers, including Turkish nationals. This situation, compounded by the language barrier, has created major obstacles to Syrians entering the formal labour market and has also created a strong push for child labour among Syrian refugee children.

These early interventions will support the development and training of a more skilled, competent, active and productive labour force that can meet the needs and expectations of employers in diverse economic sectors. In addition, the program will provide targeted support to labour market governance institutions and compliance and monitoring mechanisms supporting the integration of Syrian refugees into the labour market in line with economic, sectorial and regional priorities of Turkey. These integrated components of action encompass the multi-track approach of parallel direct interventions that will also support critical provincial, municipal and local level development.

HOW
Recognizing the potential negative consequences of the impact of such significant numbers of Syrians in the Turkish labour market, the Turkish government enacted a series of policy interventions. The Temporary Protection Regulation of October 2014 provided a number of rights for Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTP) and a framework for their access to the labour market. This was further reinforced on 15 January 2016 by the adoption of the Regulation on Work Permits for Foreigners under Temporary Protection.

This regulation has been a significant step by the government to address the impact of the Syrian crisis in Turkey, particularly in respect of labour market interventions. It enshrined a more outward-looking and constructive strategy by Turkey to leverage the socio-economic opportunities created by the large movement of SuTP into the country. The aim was to facilitate the transition to the formal economy, enabling SuTP to build a decent life for themselves and their families. It also gave them an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to society, particularly within the host communities in which they live, reinforcing social cohesion and stability. However, it should be noted that the work permit regulation was not sufficient alone to create formal employment of Syrians with a take-up of approximately 20.000 work permits issued as of October, 2017. It is clear that additional measures and incentives are needed to promote work permit applications and formal employment. It is clear that investments and business initiatives by Syrians can contribute to employment generation, foreign trade, and economic growth at both the national and local level.


This is exactly where ILO’s experience steps in and its contribution will be helpful
. In scope with ILO’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the project is based on three specific objectives, to facilitate the early entry of Syrian refugees and Turkish workers from host communities into the labour market and to help them develop, strengthen and upgrade their skills and competences as required. In addition, the program will support both communities where relevant through entrepreneurship training and business services development, supporting of active labour market policies, leveraging opportunities identified by regional development agencies, private sector actors and value chain analysis methodology. An apprenticeship system as well as a mentorship program will also be delivered throughout the project.


TO INCREASE
SKILLED, COMPETENT AND PRODUCTIVE LABOUR SUPPLY

TO PROMOTE
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

TO PROVIDE
SUPPORT TO LABOUR MARKET GOVERNANCE

  • Technical/Vocational Training Courses
  • LED  and Value Chain Analyses
  • Thematic Workshops and Trainings

 

  • Public Employment Services
  • Business Development Support

 

  • Training for SSI Inspectors
  • Apprenticeship Program
  • SME Trainings and Support
  • Arabic Speaking Consultants for Public Inst.

 

  • Workplace Mentorship Program
  • Job Placement Incentive Scheme
  • Advocacy Workshops

 

  • Certification of Vocational Qualifications

 

 

  • Awareness Raising Campaign
  • Entrepreneurship Training

 

 


WHERE

The project will be conducted in Ankara, Istanbul, Bursa, Konya, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Adana, Mersin, and Hatay.

WHEN

The project duration is 24 months. It started on February 1, 2018 and will end on January 31, 2020.

WHO


The project has been implemented by the ILO Office for Turkey since February 2018 in partnership with the IOM for specific activities. The overall coordination of the project on the government side will be conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The ILO has been active in the implementation of the UN Turkey Regional and Resilience Program (3RP 2016-2017) jointly developed by UN agencies, which has led to the establishment of more coordinated region-wide as well as nation-wide UN response to assist the millions of Syrian refugees and local host communities. Work under this project is expected to contribute to ILO’s efforts in localization of SDG 1, 4, 5, 8 and 10.




ESTIMATED RESULTS
  1.  Employability and labour market access of SuTPs and host community members increased
  2.  Knowledge on basic labour market skills including intercultural interaction and workplace adaptation increased
  3.  Knowledge on potentials for local economic development and employment creation enhanced
  4.  Decent work opportunities for SuTP and host community members created
  5.  Capacity of government institutions and social partners to implement national policies improved
  6.  Awareness on fundamental principles and rights at work increased

Key Partners
  •  Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MoLLS) DG for International Labour Force (DGILF)
  •  Ministry of Interior DG of Migration Management (DGMM)
  •  Ministry of National Education (MoNE)
  •  Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Prime Ministry (AFAD)
  •  Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR)
  •  Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA)
  •  Social Security Institution (SSI)
  •  Labour and Social Security Training and Research Centre
  •  The European Union (EU)
  •  UN Agencies
  •  Municipal Authorities
  •  Trade Unions and Employers’ Organization
  •  Relevant NGOs
  •  Development Agencies
  •  Chambers

“Job Creation and Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Host Communities in Turkey” project, with a 11,6 Million EUR EU contribution, and which is to last for 24 months; has been implemented by the ILO Office for Turkey since February 2018 in partnership with the IOM for specific activities. The overall coordination of the project on the government side will be conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The project is carried out with funding by the European Union.

Tags: Syrian refugees, Syrian refugees under temporary protection, host communities, decent jobs, better economy, vocational trainings, skill development
Regions and countries covered: Europe, Turkey

‘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

This project focusses on the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at promoting decent employment for the Syrian refugees and host communities by enhancing local capacity and delivering initial crisis impact assessments. Interventions have been including the identification of employment and training opportunities and the promotion of fundamental principles and rights at work for both refugees and host communities. The project has been implemented to enhance decent work opportunities for both refugees and host communities. Tripartite consultations has also been facilitated to promote an employment-rich response with better working and living conditions and to protect vulnerable Syrian refugee population categories such as children and women. Women cooperatives’ interventions have been supported to increase formal employability and labour market access of Syrian women refugees in Turkey. Support has been provided to enhance the institutional and operational capacities of national and local public institutions as well as employers’ and workers’ organizations to better tackle labour market challenges. Other interventions focus on increasing formal employability and labour market access of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as raising awareness on public employment services and the new legislation on work permits. The ILO has been active in the implementation of the UN Turkey Regional and Resilience Programme (3RP 2016-2017) jointly developed by UN agencies, which has led to the establishment of more coordinated region-wide as well as nation-wide UN response to assist the millions of Syrian refugees and local host communities. Work under this project is expected to contribute to ILO’s efforts in localisation of SDG 1, 4, 5, 8 and 10.


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
     

    Project Posters

‘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

Interventions focus on improving skills, increasing formal employability and labour market access of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as raising awareness on public employment services and the new legislation on work permits. Among the key components are vocational training based on local labour market needs, language courses, vocational guidance and counselling services to facilitate post-training job placements, employer incentive support programmes to support formal employment, establishment of one-stop employment guidance and counselling services, development of a model for recognition of prior learning for refugees, assignment of Arabic speaking support staff and Arabic language courses towards staff of relevant public institutions. The ILO Office for Turkey is working in close coordination and collaboration with a wide range of public institutions at central and local levels.



Interventions focus on improving skills, increasing formal employability and labour market access of Syrian refugees in Turkey, as well as raising awareness on public employment services and the new legislation on work permits. Among the key components are vocational training based on local labour market needs, language courses, vocational guidance and counselling services to facilitate post-training job placements, employer incentive support programmes to support formal employment, establishment of one-stop employment guidance and counselling services, development of a model for recognition of prior learning for refugees, assignment of Arabic speaking support staff and Arabic language courses towards staff of relevant public institutions. The ILO Office for Turkey is working in close coordination and collaboration with a wide range of public institutions at central and local levels.



Effective collaboration is developed with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Ministry of National Education, the General Directorate of Lifelong Learning, the South-eastern Anatolia Project Regional Development Administration (GAP RDA), the Eastern Mediterranean Development Agency, Gaziantep Chamber of Industry, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa Unions of Chambers of Artisans and Craftsmen, Harran Governorate, Municipality of Adana, Adana Branch of Foundation for the Promotion of Vocational Training and Small Industry (MEKSA).

  

‘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.

‘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.