Turkey grants work permits to 5500 Syrians in 2016

Turkey grants work permits to 5500 Syrians in 2016
Many Syrians have started their own business in Turkey

Turkey has granted work permits to 5,502 Syrian refugees in the first six months of the year, according to data from the Ministry of Labour published by local media on Friday.

Turkish sources said that 6,586 Syrians had applied for permits.

Turkey has registered some 2.7 million Syrian refugees since the start of the conflict. Several hundred thousand have since gone to Europe, often taking boats, though this route was largely shut several months ago, following a deal with the European Union.

In January, Turkey enacted new legislation to make it easier for Syrians to get work permits, as part of an effort to stem the flows of migration to Europe.

A major complaint of the refugees was that they could not legally work in the country, pushing them to migrate.

The ministry data, published by newspaper Hurriyet, shows that last year about 4,000 Syrians were given work permits.

Recently, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has floated the idea of granting citizenship to Syrians in the country, noting that Turkey was losing skilled individuals to Europe. Polling data has shown granting citizenship remains generally unpopular.

Nationality would be given step-by-step, with initial plans for 30,000 to 40,000 Syrians gaining citizenship, the Haberturk daily said.