In mid-January, Turkey finally granted Syrian refugees the right to work legally, five years after the influx from its war-torn southern neighbor began. However, many of the more highly qualified Syrians who fled to Turkey have already made their way to Europe, either as selected migrants or by braving clandestine sea and land journeys.
In dealing with the incessant wave of refugees, Ankara had focused on accommodation, and the issue of work permits was not treated as a priority. Similarly, combing out more highly qualified, well-trained Syrians and benefiting from them was not seen as something worthy of quick action. An overwhelming number of working refugees were employed illegally in low-paid, unattractive jobs.