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Pathways to Decent Work for Syrians and Their Host Community Members in Turkey

News | 12 December 2018

As part of its refugee response, ILO is implementing “Improving Labour Market Integration of Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Turkey” project funded by Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration - US Department of State. The overall objective of the project is to enhance the livelihoods and social cohesion of Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey by promoting labour market integration and inclusive economic growth underpinned by decent work principles.

Enhanced access to employment opportunities by improving vocational, language and labour market skills  
To increase the availability of a skilled, competent and productive labour supply, ILO supported more than 70 different vocational trainings and reached more than 2000 Syrians and members from host communities between May 2018 and October 2018 in Adana, Ankara, Bursa, Gaziantep, Mersin and Şanlıurfa provinces. Among these beneficiaries, more than 750 Syrian refugees have participated in Turkish language courses at A1 and A2 levels. Along with vocational training and language courses, participants also benefited from training on basic labour market skills, occupational safety and health as well as public employment services. ILO partners with chambers of industry, chambers of artisans and municipalities to improve skills in line with local labour market needs.

ILO supports job placements and fosters opportunities for formal and decent work for Syrian refugees

ILO Recommendation on Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience, 2017 (No. 205) recognizes that measures should be taken to foster self-reliance by expanding opportunities for refugees to access livelihood opportunities and labour markets, without discriminating among refugees and in a manner which also supports host communities. Against this backdrop, in order to encourage the transition of Syrian workers to the formal economy, ILO implements an employment incentive programme in cooperation with Gaziantep Chamber of Industry and United Work. ILO facilitates the work permit application, cover the work permit application fees and social security premiums of employers and workers for three-months. In 2018, 72 employer has benefitted from the programme to employ 315 of Syrians under temporary protection. ILO will cooperate with Turkish Social Security Institution to scale up this employment incentive scheme in 2019.

Workplace mentorship programme supports workplace adaptation among Syrian and Turkish employees in their workplaces
ILO has developed and implemented a workplace mentorship programme with the aim of supporting workplace adaptation and orientation to work culture, contributing to the labour peace and rapport among Syrian and Turkish workers in the same workplace for the establishment of an efficient and peaceful working environment. In this regard, ILO worked with 16 firms and reached to more than 150 employees-Syrians and members from host communities- in Adana, Mersin and Gaziantep. ILO aims to scale up the programme in 2019.

Fostering collaboration with private sector through apprenticeship programmes
In close cooperation with Vocational Education Centres and Chambers of Merchants and Artisans in Adana, Ankara, Gaziantep and Mersin, ILO is facilitating access to apprenticeship programmes through establishment of links between training centres and industrial zones/the private sector for identification and referral of apprentices. To serve this purpose, ILO is directly in touch with SMEs and larger companies as well as Syrian refugees to inform them on the benefits of the apprenticeship programme. So far, more than 200 Syrian refugees have been referred to apprenticeship programmes.

Entrepreneurship training and follow-up coaching offers Syrians and host community members the opportunity to establish their own businesses
ILO is supporting enabling environment for business development by stimulating entrepreneurship opportunities for Syrian and their host communities. In close cooperation with Çukurova University Technology Transfer Office, 200 Syrians and 70 host community members have completed KOSGEB Applied Entrepreneurship Training in Adana and Mersin. 20 of these trainees have benefited from further business planning coaching and mentorships to benefit from the KOSGEB micro-grants for establishment of new enterprises.  

Strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Justice and the Social Security Institute to train judges and social security auditors

ILO together with the Ministry of Justice carried out training on “Refugees, International Labour Standards and Labour Law” with participation of 118 judges in 2018. The training aimed at raising awareness including judges from the Court of Cassation and labour courts on the implementation of the Law on International Labour Force and Law on Foreigners and International Protection, and compliance with the International Labour Standards and National Legal Framework which protect refugees in the labour market. The training offered an opportunity for judges from largest refugee-hosting provinces to exchange information and to discuss court cases considering national and international legal framework. The training also included legal aid practice where refugees and foreigners under temporary protection could benefit. The training for judges will continue in 2019.

Together with the Social Security Institution, the ILO implemented a training series on registered employment of Syrians under temporary protection with the participation of 200 social security auditors in Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, Hatay, Konya and Istanbul. The one-day training included capacity-building on work permit application procedures, refugees’ social security rights as well as experience exchange between auditors and suggestions on how to decrease informal employment.


Social compliance promoted in textile sector in cooperation with Istanbul Apparel and Textile Exporters’ Association (IHKIB)

Creating a workplace where fundamental principles and rights at work are respected and cooperation between management and workers’ representatives is in place is key to support decent work/workplace environment. To that end, in cooperation with IHKIB, ILO promotes social compliance through preparing compliance manuals as knowledge sharing mechanisms and delivering training to textile companies’ personnel as an awareness raising, capacity building and advisory service tool. Since textile is one of the sectors where Syrian refugees are mainly employed, social compliance will be promoted at company level among members of IHKIB in 2019.
Social compliance is a continuing process in which organizations endeavour to protect the health, safety, and rights of their employees, the community and environment in which they operate, and the lives and communities of workers in their supply and distribution chains. Evaluating, measuring, understanding, and reporting an organization’s social and ethical performance is a key to achieve the decent work environment.