Employment still a big problem for Syrian refugees in Turkey

Gaining and maintaining employment in Turkey is a big problem for Syrian refugees, and finding an employer willing to sponsor their refugee employees for legal employment is even more difficult, a study this month by Refugees International said.

“Almost all work in the informal job sector and face temporary employment with long hours, difficult working conditions, low wages often paid late, if they receive payment at all,” the report said, highlighting how language difficulties and growing prejudice are making finding employment harder.

Another problem faced by educated Syrians is that their qualifications are not recognised in Turkey, meaning that many professionals would have to train again from scratch to gain formal employment.

However, many of the problems faced by refugees are also faced by those already at the bottom of Turkish society.

“Turkey’s large informal labour market pre-exists the arrival of Syrian refugees, and about 40 percent of Turkey’s labour force is informal,” the report said.

“According to a representative of an organisation assisting refugees to find employment, 80 percent of refugees in Turkey are working in the informal sector, as are 70 percent of Turkish blue-collar workers.”

In the third quarter of 2017, unemployment was at 10.7 percent in Turkey, but this rate was 20.6 percent among young people.