Tur­key : A cen­ter of at­trac­tion for the in­ter­na­tional work­force

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Business -

At­trAct­ing the in­ter­est of for­eign in­vestors as the fastest and the most sta­bly grow­ing econ­omy in the world, Tur­key has be­come the cen­ter of at­trac­tion for the in­ter­na­tional work­force. Im­mi­gra­tion spe­cial­ist pro­fes­sor Ali Zafer Sağıroğlu said it is nat­u­ral that the num­ber of for­eign em­ploy­ees in­creases as the econ­omy grows, adding that they might not find the la­bor force needed in many sec­tors if they re­move for­eign work­ers from the Turk­ish la­bor mar­ket. For­eign work­ers bridge the gap in many ar­eas from sheep­herd­ing to shoe­mak­ing, babysit­ting, elderly care and agri­cul­ture.

Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Univer­sity Im­mi­gra­tion Poli­cies Cen­ter Di­rec­tor, pro­fes­sor Sağıroğlu said as the economies of coun­tries de­velop, their need for an in­ter­na­tional la­bor force in­evitably in­creases. Not­ing that Tur­key’s per capita in­come has soared to $11,000 from $3,000 over the past two decades, Sağıroğlu said that this has closely af­fected both the so­cial struc­ture and the mar­kets. “For­eign work­ers are work­ing in jobs that Turk­ish cit­i­zens do not want to work for. Ac­cord­ing to In­te­rior Min­istry data, apart from Syr­i­ans, work­ers from Ge­or­gia, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ukraine, China, Turk­menistan and In­dia have re­ceived a work per­mit to work in Tur­key,” Sağıroğlu said.

Afghan em­ploy­ees mostly live in ar­eas where live­stock and agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties are the most in­tense, such as Cen­tral Ana­to­lia and the east­ern Black Sea and Aegean re­gions. The monthly in­come of a shep­herd varies be­tween TL 3,000 to TL 4,000 ($731 to $975). While Ukraini­ans are work­ing at ho­tels and green­houses in the Mediter­ranean re­gion for an av­er­age of $500 a month, Chi­nese work­ers are work­ing mostly in mines. Chi­nese com­pa­nies win­ning min­ing ten­ders in Tur­key are bring­ing Chi­nese work­ers for the most con­ve­nient wages and em­ploy­ing them for TL 300 to TL 500 per month. In ad­di­tion, Uzbek work­ers pre­fer to work in elderly, baby and dis­abled care and work for a monthly wage vary­ing be­tween TL 1,000 and TL 2,000.

Ac­cord­ing to Sağıroğlu, the ma­jor­ity of Tur­key’s close and dis­tant neigh­bors have some po­lit­i­cal, so­cial or eco­nomic chal­lenges. On the other hand, al­though Tur­key also has to strug­gle with ma­jor chal­lenges, it has be­come the coun­try of top pri­or­ity for other so­ci­eties in the re­gion in terms of both safety and the econ­omy. More­over, Tur­key’s chang­ing so­ci­o­log­i­cal dy­nam­ics have made the re­quire­ment of in­ter­na­tional hu­man power in­evitable.

Point­ing out that if it not were for Afghans, agri­cul­tural and live­stock prod­ucts would be more ex­pen­sive, Sağıroğlu stressed that Geor­gian work­ers make a great con­tri­bu­tion to the tea har­vest in the Black Sea re­gion. Also, while Syr­i­ans have a key po­si­tion in many man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors, work­ers com­ing from a vast area from East­ern Europe to Cen­tral Asian Tur­kic Republics are fill­ing a ma­jor gap in care­giv­ing and nurs­ing sec­tors.

Sağıroğlu fur­ther un­der­lined that in­ter­na­tional la­bor mo­bil­ity to­ward Tur­key is an is­sue of “man­age­ment” rather than an is­sue of a “cri­sis” in terms of both the needs of new­com­ers and the ben­e­fits of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. He con­cluded, “One of the high­est spots for this is the pub­lic per­cep­tion that needs to be cre­ated on the ba­sis of knowl­edge.”

The La­bor and So­cial Se­cu­rity Min­istry is­sued work per­mits to 87,000 for­eign­ers last year, with Syr­ian cit­i­zens lead­ing the way, re­ceiv­ing 24 per­cent of the is­sued per­mits.

Thou­sands of peo­ple from around the world ap­plied to the La­bor and So­cial Se­cu­rity Min­istry in 2017 to re­ceive a work per­mit in Tur­key. The min­istry, which care­fully ex­am­ined the ap­pli­ca­tions, ap­proved around 87,190 of the nearly 100,000 ap­pli­ca­tions made last year.

Around 20,970 Syr­i­ans be­gan work­ing in Tur­key last year with the per­mis­sion of the min­istry, ac­count­ing for about 24 per­cent of the al­lowed work per­mits.

Syr­i­ans were fol­lowed by Ge­or­gia with 7,317 cit­i­zens re­ceiv­ing work per­mit, Kyr­gyzs­tan with 6,360, Ukraine with 5,761, China with 4,288, Turk­menistan with 3,847, In­dia with 3,055, Uzbek­istan with 2,465, Azer­bai­jan with 2,449 and Rus­sia with 2,390.

While there were 983 Amer­i­cans, 960 Ger­mans, 956 Bri­tish, 649 Ital­ian and 543 French among those granted work per­mits last year, Tur­key pro­vided jobs for peo­ple from around the world, in­clud­ing Fin­land, Mex­ico, Ja­pan, Brazil, Es­to­nia and Peru.

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