Promoting Decent Work For Syrians Under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens

Project Overview

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) for the world of work. The ILO sets international labour standards, promotes decent work opportunities and rights at work, enhances social protection and strengthens social dialogue on work-related issues.

© Kıvanç Özvardar / ILO
With over 3,7 million Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTP), Turkey is the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world, and 2,1 million SuTPs in Turkey are of working age.

To support refugees and host communities gain a living in decent working conditions, the ILO is implementing the Refugee Response Programme (RRP). This project on Promoting Decent Work for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens is implemented as part of the ILO’s Refugee Response Programme which facilitates the access of Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens to the formal labour market and supports them to develop, strengthen and upgrade their skills and competences in accordance with the labour market needs.

The project on “Promoting Decent Work for Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish Citizens supports an equal number of Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens and promotes inclusive economic growth and social cohesion, underpinned by decent work principles.

The project is implemented by the ILO Office for Türkiye in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MoLSS) and its key agencies and directorates, including the Social Security Institution (SSI) and Directorate-General for International Labour Force (DGILF), 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.

Project Components

Component 1- The Work-Based Learning Programme (WBL)

  • Through WBL, jobseekers (Syrian refugees as well as Turkish citizens) gain access to vocational training simultaneously with formal job experience through on-the-job and off-the-job training, while employers gain access to a qualified workforce.
  • Wage subsidy, SSI premium and work permit cost support are provided with the programme.
  • Financial support is provided for women to cover childcare services and outreach to persons with disabilities is targeted via specific institutions such as İŞKUR.
  • Partnerships with organizations that have well-functioning vocational training facilities are established.
  • The WBL programme is being implemented in Gaziantep, Ankara, Adana, Denizli, Bursa and Istanbul to enable beneficiaries to gain more adequate skills and access sustainable jobs.
© Kıvanç Özvardar / ILO

Component 2- Information Centers (BILMERs)

  • Partnerships are set up with the Unions of Chambers Tradesmen and Craftsmen (ESOBs), municipalities, chambers of industry and other partners to establish Information Centers (BILMERs) which provide adequate information on the formalization process through consultations.
  • BILMERs provide inclusive, effective and efficient services to support the formalization process of informal tradesmen and craftsmen.
  • BILMERs raise employers’ awareness of the rules and regulations in the labour market and provide work permit application support as well as referrals to training and employment opportunities.
  • ILO has opened BILMERs in Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Konya, Adana, Mersin, Ankara, Bursa, Hatay and three centers in Istanbul offering services to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Turkey.
© Kıvanç Özvardar / ILO

Component 3- Transition to Formality Programme (KIGEP)

  • Through the KIGEP, the project provides support to employers to employ equal numbers of Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens formally.
  • Employers receive support payment for up to six months and a one-off work permit fee per worker under the KIGEP programme.
  • 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) which also encourages formal employment of Syrian refugees as well as Turkish citizens.
  • KIGEP operates in 14 provinces across Turkey under the SSI Provincial Directorate.
© Kıvanç Özvardar / ILO


By June 2023:
  • At least 2,000 beneficiaries will develop their skills through a tailor-made Work-Based Learning Programme (WBL).
  • Up to 12,400 consultations will be provided through the Information Centers (BILMERs). Of these, at least 10,000 consultations are provided for informal workers and 2,400 consultations for informal businesses, 10% of which should lead to formalization.
  • KIGEP has already surpassed its initial target of 10,000 beneficiaries who benefit from social security through transition to formality. By the end of the project, the total of formalized beneficiaries will reach 16,770.
  • An equal number of Syrians under Temporary Protection and Turkish citizens benefit from each component.

Project provinces

Adana, Ankara, Aydin, Bursa, Denizli, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Mersin, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Osmaniye and Kahramanmaras.


Financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through the KfW Development Bank


December 2018 - December 2020 (Phase I)
December 2020 - June 2023 (Phase II)