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Johanne Eva Desvages
Tuesday 1 October 2019 Last update on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 At 7:22 AM

Turkey is the country that hosts the largest refugee population in the world, more than 3.5 million refugees, since the beginning of Syrian civil war in 2011. In a Policy Brief released recently, two researchers from Femise considered the long-term impact of Syrian Refugees on Turkish Economy.

According to the Directorate General Migration Management (DGMM), 3.56 million of Syrian refugees are registered under temporary protection in Turkey since September 2018. This number corresponds to 64.1% of total Syrian refugees in the country and their number increased more than fifteen fold between 2013 and 2017. 

 The Turkish government eased the access of basic facilities for refugees and approved extending their work permits and residence permission. However, the number of Syrian refugees employed informally is estimated at around 650,000 which corresponds to around 40 percent of the active population of Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Through their research project entitled “the long-term impact of Syrian refugees on Turkish economy: an input-output simulation”, researchers Ramon Mahía Casado and Ahmet Ali Koc aim to estimate the economic impacts of Syrian refugees within the frame of production and consumption sides. 


What are the key figures ? 


According to the med brief : « The total value-added impact generated by the occupations of Syrian refugees in the Turkish economy was an estimated 27.2 billion TL at the end of 2017, representing 1.96% of total Turkish GDP. 

Meanwhile, the production effect is estimated at 1.51% of GDP for 2017. This impact assumes an increase in production of 30.59 billion TL across different sectors, generating 20.9 billion TL of value added.

Induced demand effect accounts for the rest of global impact, for 0.45% of GDP in 2017. This effect implies new production estimated at around 11.7 billion TL, generating 6.2 billion TL in value added and is essentially produced by direct consumption and investment of Syrian population; the direct effect is estimated at 0.3% of GDP for 2017. 

Native employment induced by Syrian economic integration (from both production and demand effects) was an estimated 132,454 persons in 2017. »


Syrian immigration in Turkey is « a factor of economic dynamism »

The FEMISE researchers stress that the impact of Syrian economic integration in Turkey would moderately increase then would accelerate between 2023 and 2028. A phenomenon due to the growth pattern of Syrian working age population and employment.

« This means that the annual economic impact of Syrian integration will double, from 1.96% of GDP in 2017 to 4.05% of GDP in 2028. At the end of the simulation period, the number of Syrian workers is estimated at around 1 million and induced national employment generated by Syrian integration would reach a total of 265 thousand Turkish employees. » 

It appears that there are more employment opportunities for the Syrian refugees in manufacturing, energy, construction, transport and storage and service sectors. 

Finally,  Ramon Mahía Casado and Ahmet Ali Koc considered that Syrian immigration in Turkey is « a factor of economic dynamism » , not only beneficiary to the Syrian community but also to the Turkish host communities.

Regarding the policy implications, the authors conclude that, with the help of the international community (ex. the European Union, etc,) and proper medium-term planning that takes into account the positive effects of a genuine labour participation of Syrian refugees in Turkey, a future of true socio-economic integration is possible with minimal friction.

They add that, enhancing the employment opportunities of Syrian refugees would be beneficial, through improving their education and skill level, local language competency, their awareness about legal obligations and opportunities and their entrepreneurial skills by facilitating their work permits and investment opportunities, particularly in the sectors that were found to be more productive from this exercise.

Meanwhile, Promoting labour integration and facilitating the start-up of small businesses would reduce the pressure on public assistance resources in many cities and towns. This policy can also alleviate the resource competition between nationals and immigrants and can control the stigmatization of the immigrant population.

This article was produced in collaboration with Femise. 

The Policy Brief is available here

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