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Syrians and Labor Market Integration: Dynamics in Turkey and Germany Evaluation Note /  Omar Kadkoy
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03/02/2017 - Viewed 1646 times

When the conflict broke out in Syria, the first to cross the Turkey–Syria border was a group of 252 Syrians in April 2011. In the almost six years since, more than five million Syrians have sought refuge in neighboring countries and the European Union member states. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) classifies the Syrian case as a protracted refugee situation, which on average last 26 years. As such, Syrian hosting countries may still be considered in the beginning phase of this period. Recently, especially with the curbing of the flow of Syrians to Europe following EU–Turkey Migration Agreement of March 2016, governments’ approaches with regards to the refugee crisis have begun to shift from “crisis management” to “sustainable integration.” Simultaneously with this shift, policy discussions have also been transitioning from temporary solutions to empowerment of refugees for harmonization, integration, and ultimately, self-sufficiency. In some countries, this shift has already started to translate into actual implementation of policies, whereas in others, policy formulation is still underway.

Without a doubt, the most critical aspect to empower refugees toward attaining self-sufficiency is to enable them to access labor markets. However, it is also the most politically-charged policy area, as granting entry to labor markets to refugees often means paving the way for the local labor force to be displaced by foreigners, if no further job-creation initiatives and mechanisms are introduced. In the two non-Arabic speaking countries that host the largest number of Syrians, Turkey and Germany, labor market integration processes have followed contrasting paths and yielded different results. Germany has highly advanced institutions of its own, as well as a history of integrating immigrant and refugee populations into its labor force. Turkey’s migration management institutions are neither as strong nor as experienced as those in Germany’s. It is a rare case of a middle-income country that has had to accommodate a large influx of a foreign population.

You may read full paper from here.

This note was published by The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

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