Legal employment hardly accessible to refugees in Turkey

While refugees are allowed to seek employment under Turkish law, legal jobs are largely inaccessible for the vast majority of refugees in Turkey. In its study, I Am Only Looking for My Rights”: Legal Employment Still Inaccessible to Refugees in TurkeyRefugees International examines the challenges and consequences facing refugees as they seek employment in Turkey. The study is based on a October 2017 research mission.

The report finds that without legal employment, refugees become trapped in a cycle of informal work where the risk of exploitation and abuse is high and wages are low. 
Refugees in Turkey face enormous hurdles to finding legal employment and commonly work excessively long hours often in difficult working conditions and are paid a faction of their Turkish counterparts. In addition, the lack of decent wages for adult refugees pushes many refugee children into the job market as well, instead of attending school.

One of the difficulties refugees face is a climate of hostility and negative myths about the impact of refugees on Turkish society. 
The report offers the following policy recommendations (a.o):


KNOMAD study on Refugees' Right to Work and Access to Labor Markets

Refugees' Right to Work and Access to Labor Markets
A December 2016 study produced under the KNOMAD's Thematic Working Group on Migration and Development finds a generally restrictive approach to refugees’ right to work across 20 countries that have taken in 70 per cent of the world’s refugees. Most are reluctant to ease these restrictions too.


The majority of refugees work in the informal sector, but under much less satisfactory and more exploitative conditions compared with nationals. Informal labour markets are also constrained in countries with fragile economies which often host large numbers of refugees, says the study.

The research concludes that:
-more national and international coordination is required,
-multiple actors should share in the responsibility to deliver decent work,
-labour market policies as well as training and education should be harnessed to support sustainable livelihoods,
-refugee social capital should be more effectively engaged. 

ECRE Paper: The Right to Work for Beneficiaries of International Protection

In December 2016 ECRE released the paper The Right to Work for Beneficiaries of International Protection

The ability to engage in decent work is a fundamental human right, integral to human dignity and self-respect. Failure to ensure proper access to the labour market hinders the ability of a beneficiary of international protection to successfully integrate into their new society, and leaves them at risk of destitution. It may also result beneficiaries of international protection engaging in unauthorized work in dangerous and degrading conditions, or their unauthorized onward secondary movement.

As a result, it is essential to ensure beneficiaries of international protection are given effective access to the labour market. In order to effectively enjoy the right to work, individuals not only need effective access to the labour market, but also access to vocational training courses and to have their qualifications recognised in a reasonable period of time. Studies have revealed that when beneficiaries of international protection initially enter the labour market they frequently only have access to jobs subsidised by the State and/or requiring a lower level of qualifications or skills.

A European Commission's initiative to support labour market integration

On 23 May 2017 the European Commission launched the initiative Employers together for integration at the occasion of the second meeting of the European Dialogue on Skills and Migration to give visibility to what employers are doing to support the integration of refugees and other migrants into the labour market.
Article extracted from the European Commission website.

The successful integration of third-country nationals in the EU labour market represents an opportunity for our societies. When effectively integrated they can help improve the functioning and performance of the labour market, as well as support fiscal sustainability. 

In this process, the role of economic and social partners, and in particular of employers, is crucial. Several initiatives have been initiated by employers, trade unions, chambers of
commerce in many member states.
The European Social fund is the main funding instrument supporting labour market inclusion, including of migrants. The Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) can also provide funding for preparatory measures to access the labour market.

Economic and Social European Committee presents good practices to enhance access to labour market of refugees

L’Observatoire du marché du travail (OMT) du Comité économique et social européen a tenu un séminaire public sur le thème «Intégration des réfugiés sur le marché du travail: transformer la crise en une occasion à saisir» le lundi, 22 février 2016 de 14h30 à 18h00 au siège du CESE à Bruxelles.
L'événement, organisé en collaboration avec la Fondation européenne pour l’amélioration des conditions de vie et de travail (Eurofound),  a mis en lumière les facteurs qui facilitent le travail des réfugiés, en tant qu'employés ou entrepreneurs. Parmi les orateurs on a pu découvrir des chercheurs, députés européens et représentants de la société civile qui ont présenté une série de bonnes pratiques issues du terrain.
Le séminaire a offert des points de vue variés sur les bonnes pratiques et les défis à relever dans ce domaine et apporte une contribution au travail approfondi du CESE en matière de migration/asile/intégration, comme par exemple à l'avis SOC/532 sur l'Intégration des réfugiés (rapporteure Mme Schweng, corapporteur M Gkofas), au travail du groupe d'étude permanent IMI et au Forum européen sur la Migration.