The UN offers training and work for Syrian refugees in Turkey

Challenges faced by refugees in the Turkish labour market

The framework of a UN project creates employment opportunities for Syrians living in Turkey by strengthening co-operation and solidarity ties between them and local people in agriculture.

The project aims to provide employment in the agricultural sector to about 3,000 Syrians living in Turkey. The first phase of the project started in Sanliurfa, a Turkish border province that houses half a million Syrian refugees.

The project is run jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (OPF) and the Turkish government and is funded by the European Union.

Speaking to Hurriyet, Viorel Gutu, a representative of the OPP in Turkey and a subregional coordinator for Central Asia, stressed the importance of the initiative, which aims to achieve the broad socio-economic integration of Syrian refugees, while focusing on the challenges facing are facing, especially in the process of a pandemic.

“The pandemic has been a great challenge for all of us in different ways. But its impact has hit the most vulnerable people working in agriculture the hardest, 90 per cent of them living in extreme poverty, “Gutu said, noting that 94 per cent of Syrian refugees work as seasonal agricultural workers and 64 per cent of them. have difficulty finding work during a pandemic.

Gutu said the project works to provide these communities with knowledge, support and connect with employers.

A total of 10 provinces with the highest agricultural potential and a Syrian refugee population, located mainly in southern and eastern Turkey, were selected for the project.

Under the initiative, a total of 3,000 people will receive vocational training.

The project also enables 1,500 Syrians to receive short-term employment in agricultural areas.

Nearly 50 percent of those employed in the project are women.

With 4 million refugees, as of 2020, Turkey is the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world for the seventh year in a row. The vast majority, close to 3.6 million, come from Syria, while 400,000 are Afghanis, Iranians and Iraqis. Ten years after the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, one quarter of the world’s 25.9 million refugees are Syrian.

Recognizing the need to design long-term approaches that bolster the resilience of refugees, the Turkish government has designed strong protection frameworks that grant access to education, the health system, social services, and the labour market. Since 2016, refugees can obtain a work permit through their employer.

The ILO places decent work, including the promotion of international labour standards, at the heart of its interventions. Being the only tripartite UN agency, the ILO closely cooperates with the government, employers’ and workers’ organizations to support access to economic opportunities that are central in restoring hope, dignity and human security to refugees. In Turkey this means supporting the government and social partners to manage the increased pressure on the labour market and support access to decent work – for both refugees and host communities.

ILO’s approach is also consistent with the pledge to “leave no one behind” in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the ILO supports the implementation of Goal 8 on inclusive, sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Refugees in Turkey face challenges when accessing the labour market and again when they are employed. The challenges in accessing the labour market include: low employability (due to low levels of education and technical skills); limited language skills; restrained access to information and services (mainly due to the language barrier).



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