Promoting Decent Work For Syrians Under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens

Project Overview

Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees in the world. Over 3,7 million Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTP), including 2,1 million at working age, are present in Turkey.

© ILO / Kıvanç Özvardar
Around one million Syrians (This number is based on data from the 2017 Household and Labour Force Survey) are estimated to be working in Turkey. Under the temporary protection regime that the Turkish government implements for Syrians, they have access to work permits according to the Regulation on Provision of Work Permits for Foreigners under Temporary Protection from January 2016 (however, employers need to apply for a work permit). Yet according to various labour market studies, including by the ILO, Syrians are mostly employed informally in low-skilled occupations.

Promoting Decent Work for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens Project aims to facilitate the access of SuTP and Turkish citizens to the formal labour market and supports them to develop, strengthen and upgrade their skills and competences as required by the labour market.

The number of Syrians and Turkish beneficiaries will be equal. A special focus will be on the integration of women into the formal labour market with the expectation that at least 30% of beneficiaries are women.

The project is implemented by the ILO Office for Turkey in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MoLSS) and its key agencies and directorates, including the Social Security Institution (SSI) and DG International Labour Force, and with unions of chambers of tradesmen and craftsmen and their confederation (TESK), social partners, local governments and municipalities as well as other public agencies and stakeholders.

© ILO / Kıvanç Özvardar

Outputs and Activities

The project consists of three major outputs:
  1. Syrian and Turkish citizens will be qualified to participate in the formal labour market.

    The aim is to strengthen, upgrade and adapt the skills of SuTP and Turkish citizens through a tailor-made work-based-learning programme that consists of 90% on-the-job training on job-specific and technical skills and 10% off-the-job-training on fundamental principles and rights at work and inclusive measures. Its approach is demand-driven and gives employers the possibility to articulate their training needs.
  2. Supporting the formalization of informal enterprises and employees through strengthening the service delivery and outreach capacity of the union.

    An important element of the project will be to enhance services available for micro enterprises. The institutional capacity of representational bodies of micro-enterprises at the provincial level will be strengthened through the establishment of information centres (BILMER) that provide inclusive, effective and efficient services. These information centres should support formalization of businesses and jobs. BILMERs will not only support the formalization process of informal micro enterprises but also raise their awareness on the rules and regulations governing their participation in the labour market, provide work permit application support as well as referral to training and employment opportunities.
  3. Transition to formality will be facilitated for Syrians and Turkish citizens.

    The project will provide support to employers to employ SuTP and Turkish citizens through an incentive scheme. The incentive scheme includes administrative and financial support to apply for work permits and covers social security contributions.

    The main partner is the Social Security Institution (SSI) that will implement the incentive scheme to encourage formal employment of SuTP and Turkish citizens.


  • Work-based learning programme will be provided to 2,000 participants.
  • 10 information centres will be established and provide counselling and referral services on formalisation and formal employment to micro-enterprises and informal workers.
    • 10,000 labour market consultations for informal employees and 2,400 formalization consultations for micro-enterprises will be delivered through BILMER offices.
    • 10% of BILMER office beneficiaries will be supported to be formalized by providing financial support.
  • Cost for social security premiums for up to 10,000 beneficiaries (Syrian and Turkish citizens) will be reimbursed to employers under the cooperation with the Social Security Institution.
  • Cost for work permits for all Syrians participating in the programmes will be reimbursed. 50% of beneficiaries are expected to be Syrians under Temporary Protection.
© ILO / Kıvanç Özvardar

Target provinces

Adana, Ankara, Aydin, Bursa, Denizli, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Mersin, Şanlıurfa and Hatay


Financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW Development Bank


December 2018 - December 2020 (Phase I)
December 2020 - December 2022 (Phase II)