Labour Market Impact of Syrian Refugees in Turkey: The View of Employers in Informal Textile Sector in Istanbul
Keywords:Syrian refugees, labour market, textile sector, informal labour, employers
In less than a decade, Turkey has become home to some 4 million Syrians due to the bloody conflict across much of its southern border. That only a fraction of those refugees live in designated camps with the overwhelming majority spread about the country has led to hostile sentiments among some natives who blame Syrians for taking away their jobs. Still, research about the impact of Syrians on Turkish labour market outcomes is too limited. Empirical findings analysing micro-level data find either no impact or just abysmall changes to natives’ formal employment rates but rather declines in rates of informal employment. This paper presents the findings of a three-month fieldwork in Istanbul’s informal textile sector. Looking at the issue from the view of employers, it shows that “on average” country-level findings of the empirical analysis might be quite simplifying and sometimes inconsistent depending on the context. By just looking at the issue in a specific/neighbourhood setting, namely informal textile sector in a rather homogenous urban neighbourhood where the main competition in jobs are between Kurds and Syrians, this study shows that employment rates of natives declined in that specific field due to other factors independent of the Syrians.