Syrian Refugees Working in Turkey

Issues Child Labor Employment Relationship

The civil war and humanitarian crisis in Syria have, since the middle of 2011, resulted in the mass relocation of refugees into neighboring countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.  

While the precise number of Syrian refugees settled in Turkey remains unclear, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that as of September 29, 2014, it had registered more than 1,029,500 Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The Turkish Interior Ministry estimates that the number is probably closer to 1.35 million, with a minority remaining in the refugee camps near the border, though a massive late-September influx of refugees suddenly increased the population in the camps.

  • In response to a request from the government of Turkey for guidance on this issue, the FLA submitted a letter in November 2014.
  • A recap of a March 2015 roundtable meeting organized by FLA and ETI.
  • The government of Turkey published on January 15, 2016, a new “Regulation on Work Permits for Foreigners Under Temporary Protection,” providing access for Syrian refugees in Turkey to apply for work permits.
  • FLA members and other allies published a booklet of resources for Syrian refugees seeking employment in Turkey in April 2016.  The booklet explains the steps to obtain work permits and provides guidance on topics like minimum working age and minimum wage, the Turkish social security system, the right to refuse unsafe working conditions, and other aspects of national labor law. The guidance will be distributed through the Turkish Ministry of Labor offices in many manufacturing cities across the country.
  • FLA and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security published in October 2016 pamphlets on the risk of child labor in the Turkish ready-made garment and apparel industry, including guidance on the employment of young workers (older than 15 and younger than 18), and the fines associated with various violations of national law related to child labor and young workers.