The Role of Labour Administration in Labour Migration

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Syria, in accordance with the usual International Standards and, ... since 1967, and they have the same rights of the Syrian citizens except from voting and ..... Sieralion,Paraguay, Nigeria, Nepal, Mauritania, Korea, Kongo, Italy, Eriterea, ... accountability systems, also the exemption of the visa for Arabs is another factor.

6 The Role of Labour Administration in Labour Migration Syrian Arab Republic Dr. Issa Maldaoun INTRODUCTION Syria, in accordance with the usual International Standards and, in comparison with many other labour attractive countries, is not considered to be a labour-importing country, rather it is more considered to be one of the major labour-exporting countries, especially to the neighbour countries like Jordan and Lebanon, and the Arab Gulf Countries. This is driven by the relatively high unemployment ratio1 11.3%, and the limited job opportunities that doesn't go along with the increasing birthrate. The remittances of Syrian labour abroad, have an important role in the Syrian economy. The imported-labour to Syria mainly come from poor Arab countries (Sudan, Somalia and Yemen); of those who couldn't have the opportunity to work in the Gulf countries, and who are mostly from the under skilled workers. As for the non Arab migrant labour in Syria, is used to be very limited, but within the past few years the number of employed house workers has been increased and reached 50.000 domestic worker in 2006. Most of the migrant labour in Syria are refugees and asylum seekers from the neighbouring countries Iraq and Palestine, who are living in Syria because of the Israile occupation of Palestine and the American occupation of Iraq and Syria is the main destination for the refugees from both countries. Half million Palestinians are living and working in Syria since 1948 and some of them were since 1967, and they have the same rights of the Syrian citizens except from voting and they hold permanent residency in Syria and they do not need a work permit. The number of Iraqi refugees has been increasing after the American occupation, and it is estimated that there are 1.200.000 Iraqi refugees, most of them are looking for a job

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opportunity and they form a considerable economical and social challenge to the Syrian government. The rest of the Arab nationalities of workers in Syria is not as much and most of them are from Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and they mostly work as guards in farms and domestic workers. Also, there is a big Lebanese community, which lived most of it in Syria for a long time and most of them were born, lived and worked in Syria, due to the historical relationships and the strong social bonds between the two countries. This was a brief on the situation of migrant labour in Syria and its characteristics. Regarding the role of labour administration in regulating the migrant labour, this is the main role of the labour force department in the ministry of labour and social affairs, and its directorates in the 14 Syrian governorates and this role is limited to giving the work licenses and labour inspection, in an absence of specific documented policies for migrant labour. As for the role of ministry of interior it role is limited to issuing the residency permissions through its administration of immigration and passports, Also, it has been noticed that there is no contribution to the migrant labour issues from the non governmental organisations and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. There is no existence of licensed recruitment offices for migrant labour until the date of this report. The details regarding the view of the private recruitment offices will be provided later in the report. It is worth mentioning that one of the most important difficulties that we faced during the preparation of this report is the lack of sufficient statistics on the migrant labour in Syria, and the report was mostly based on interviews with officials and some rough numbers provided by the ministry of labour and social affairs and the ministry of interior on the numbers and nationalities of foreign labour in Syria, and it will be included within the report. It is also worth mentioning that the development of labour administration is considered as a priority to the Syrian Government and that was reflected in the tenth five years plan and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is cooperating with the International Labour Organisation to set the policies of the National Migrant Labour to cooperate with the International Labour Agreements in conjunction with the migrant labour in Syria, its inspection and the amendment of the current legislations and regulations.

WHY IMPORT FOREIGN LABOUR ? As has been mentioned before, In Syria's case, and for many reasons, there is no serious demand for the Foreign Labour in the Syrian Labour market for the following reasons : (i) The Syrian skilled labour can respond to the needs of the labour market in Syria, except in some specialisations e.g. (Information and Communication). (ii) The surplus of the unemployed under skilled workers among Syrians is very high, as the unemployment rates reaches (11.3%) and the majority of this ratio is from under-skilled workers.

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(iii) The relatively low level of wages in Syria that does not respond to the ambition of the migrant labour, in way that assures them extra salaries and savings. (iv) The Government's policies do not encourage the employment of the migrant labour. It is estimated that 80 percent of the migrant labour in Syria are refugees and Asylum seekers from the neighboring countries (Iraq and Palestine) for human reasons (war or occupation). Also, it has been noticed that the request for domestic workers increased during the last few years until it reached (50,000) in 2006. from East Asia and Africa (Indonesia, Philippines, Ethiopia) according to non official statistics, despite the availability of such kind of labour in Syria, but, the employers prefer the foreign labour for many reasons: (i) They keep privacy of the households; (ii) The paid salaries are less than the Syrian domestic workers; and (iii) More committed in there duties and have better skills in house keeping. Syria is an exporting country of the skilled labour (Gulf, Europe, Canada and US.) and non-skilled labour to the neighbouring countries (Lebanon and Jordan), the major motives in Syria are: (i) The increase of unemployment rates and the lower levels of salaries and standards of living;. (ii) Other social and educational reasons; and (iii) Migrant labour are seeking a higher income and better living standards. In the Syrian case, the recruitment of skilled foreign labour can be eliminated in the favour of the national skilled workers needed in the market through the active planning of human resources according to the 10th fifth Plan in Syria (2006-2010) which stressed on the intellectual reform of education,,training, human resources' development, and the connection of education outcome and the demand of the labour market on skilled workers. The employment of foreign labour in Syria has a negative impact in general on the Syrian economy; as it decreases the job opportunities of the Syrian labour. The wages of the Foreign Labours are often fully transferred out of the country, despite that they are benefitting from the Governmental subsidies e.g. free public services of education and health care. Concerning the wages there is no big difference between the wages of the migrant worker and the Syrian worker. Regarding the unskilled labour, it is noticed that the under skilled foreign worker gets less wages compared to the Syrian's e.g. home workers, guards etc…, But regarding the skilled workers, the situation is different, as the foreign labour is getting higher wages and more benefits, compared to Syrian skilled workers when occupying the same posts; and this explains the high rate of migration among the Syrian skilled workforce.

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Unlike the Gulf countries which adapt specific policies that aim at replacement of the foreign labour with the national labour, Syrian's government does not have such policies, due to the limited ratio of recruitment from the non Syrians, (except in case of refugees).

POLICIES AND LEGAL CONTEXT The Syrian Policies towards the Migrant labour There is no specific explicitly stated policies concerning the Migrant Labour in Syria, but, according to the UN Decrees about the International Population Policies, it was clear that the trends of most of the Arab Governments is to reduce the Migrant Labour which is relatively applicable in the Syrian case. As most of the Arab Countries labour laws, the Syrian labour law is not applicable to the domestic workers and this was defined in item fifth of the Syrian Labour Law No. 91 for the year 1959. Lately a new decree was issued and it regulates the issuance of special contracts for the Foreign domestic workers, which includes the essential rights and regulates the relationship between the domestic workers and the employment offices, also, it controls this relationship between domestic workers and their employers. In the aim of controlling the legalisation of these offices: (Decree No. 81 for the year 2006). Despite the absence of specific polices related to migrant labour; we can refer to the implicit trends of the Syrian Government as follows : (i) Limitation on recruitment of foreign labour especially the under-skilled workers because of the relatively high unemployment ratios among the Syrian citizens; (ii) Focus on the Humans Resources planning and the Educational and training politics to fulfill the labour market demand on the skilled workforce in the aim to replace the current skilled foreign workers with national ones; and (iii) The commitment to support the Arab refugees and asylum seekers, who were forced to leave their countries either because of occupation or war, including the support to have temporary jobs, without any intention to be Syrian citizens and on the contrary to assure their return home.

The Legal Context Syria has ratified the International Agreement No. 45/158 for the year 1990 regarding the protection of the refugees and their families in its Decree No. 24 dated 10/04/2005, on the other hand some there are several international conventions related to the migrant labour that Syria has not yet ratified for routine and procedural reasons.

The Syrian Labour Code No. 91 of 1959 This law does not discriminate between The Syrian and Foreign labours, and guarantees all rights and privileges for both. Although, the article (5) of this law has exempted the domestic workers for both Syrians and Foreign labours.

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The chapter (5) of the labour code has organised foreign labour's work including the following: Article (35): Foreigners cannot work unless they get permission from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and they have permission for residence on the condition of reciprocity with the country of Foreign Nationality. Article (36): The conditions to get work license are determined by the regulations of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, the case of exempt from reciprocity or issuing the work permit is also determined by the minister. The decree No. 2040 of 2006 including this article has been released lately. Article (219) determines the penalty of breaking the article (35) as following: "Jail penalty for a period which does not exceed six months plus a penalty of 500 S.L. (=10USD) or one of these two penalties applied to any foreigner who violate the article 35 or any other conditions of work permission. The employee and work manager or their representative will be responsible for this".

Decree (2040) for 2005, conditions of work license permit for foreigners and procedures: 

Article (2) of the decree determines the importing and employing foreigners in the governmental and private associations are subject to the rules of this decree:



Article (4) determines conditions to issue work permissions for foreigners as follows: (i) Unavailability of national labours with same qualifications and experience. (ii) Qualifications and experience of the foreign labour should be match qualifications needed to the position and work requested in the work permission. (iii) Getting permission to practice a job which needs an official license. (iv) Actual need for the experience or profession of the applicant.





Articles (5), (6), (7) and (8): determine the procedures of application and permission. Article (8): of the decree stipulates: "The final license will not be issued unless the permission of residence is obtained and after having a proof of enrollment in the General Association of Social Insurance"



Article (9): stipulates that the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs is allowed to the exemption of some foreigners from the reciprocity law or from the conditions of receiving the work license or other conditions and work permission procedures determined in the decree.

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Article (11): stipulates on the employer when proceeding the employment of foreign labour. (i) To assign them with Syrian Assistance with same qualifications (ii) The Syrian Assistant is to follow training course in the same field of the job carried out by the Foreign Expertise.



Article (12) The employer to obtain the work permission has to remit a Bank Guarantee in the Ministry's Account equivalent to (USD 2000) to assure that the employer fulfills his/her obligations towards the foreign worker.



Article (13) determines the fees of the work permission to be 5 percent of the labour's annual salary paid by the employer, in the condition not to exceed (500USD).



The work permit validity will be for one year renewed yearly.



Article (18): The work permit can be repealed according to the following: (i) If the labour is convicted in a crime or infraction for immorality, disgraceful and unsocial behaviour; (ii) If it was certain that the permission is issued according to false documents; (iii) If the labour uses the permission in an irrelevant job to the one stated in the permission terms; (iv) According to the National Security requirements, and the country's economical and social welfare.



Article (20) determines that the percentage of the foreign labour employed by an employer should not exceed 10 percent of the total labours and their salaries should not exceed 30 percent of the total salaries. In case the required qualifications and experience are not available, the minister has the right to increase this percentage.

The minister can issue a decree in which he/she mentions the jobs, works and professions which are prohibited to the foreign labours.

Decree (2130) for 2005 

It includes the work labour's exempt cases approved by the minister for the following categories: (i) Technical expertise and professional contractors with the Government (ii) Arabs or foreigners working in the Arab International Organisations (iii) Arabs or foreigners working in the Cultural Centres. (iv) Spirituals and all related religious staff.

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Arabs and foreigners who are living in Syria for a continuous period of ten years are exempted from the condition of competing with the national workers.



Arabs and foreigners who work with the Government besides the domestic workers and governess are exempted from Bank guarantee conditions.

The regulation for private agencies to import foreign domestic workers and governess: This regulation was issued by the Prime Minister on 21/11/2006 to organise the agencies permissions for the recruitment and employment of domestic workers and their association with the Government, and to determine the work relation among those workers and the employer and the employing agencies. Major rules of this regulation are as following: 

Article (2) The domestic workers should be imported or employed only through licensed offices according to this regulation.



Article (3): The conditions fulfilled in the license are as following:





Holders of Syrian nationality for more than five years.



Blaimeless life and not condemned.



Obliged to carry out the rules of this regulation.

Article (8): Determined the conditions to be fulfilled with the imported domestic worker 

Has full legal aptitude



Not condemned



Her/his nationality is approved for importing domestic workers from, in accordance with the decree issued by the Ministry of Interior Affairs.



Approval of the spouse if the domestic worker is married.



Free of chronic and contagious diseases and physically fit and qualified to carry out all job activities.



Articles (4,5,6,7) determined all procedures for office license authorisation.



Article (7) of the structure obliged the office owner to present bank guarantee of (5,000.000) Syrian Pounds equivalent to (USD100,000) to be deposited in the account of the ministry of labour and social affairs to be used in the payment of penalties or reclaimed compensation by the office owner towards the government or the imported labours.



Article (13): Determined the obligations of the work office. 

Taking into consideration all decisions and directions requested by the work inspectors;

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Take on the responsibility, expenditure and compensation of any harm attached to the labours or others resulting from breaking the prevailing law and regulations; and



The office is to provide suitable residence for the domestic worker upon arrival and before starting at the beneficiary or during the period of their work termination on his account.

The Article (13) determined the prohibitions which may cause the termination of the permission : 

to practice any work or activity the office is not allowed for.



Working as intermediary in importing or employing house workers under the age of 18 years.



Exceed the limits of authorisation or delegation of the beneficiary.



If the office opens any branches in Syria without official permission.



Importing domestic workers into Syria in the name of suspicious beneficiaries to employ them on daily or monthly basis in different sites.



Article (15) Determined the rules and procedures of domestic labours in importing and oblige the office and the beneficiary to sign a contract according to a form decided by the ministry.



Article (16) Determined the attachment of the approved sample contract, which includes :





The working period of the beneficiary and the monthly salary



The beneficiary undertakes in the contract to adhere to the basic rights of the labour especially: clothes, food, medicine, and acceptable dormancy place and relaxation, also, undertakes to pay the labour the agreed salary at the end of the each month and offer the required help in the salary transfer to the home country according to the actual foreign currency method; also he undertakes giving enough relax period and annual leave.



The beneficiary will undertake not to abuse the labour or beat him /her under the responsibility of legal interrogation as per the actual law system and applied regulations.



The beneficiary undertakes the obligation to register the labour in the Injuries Fund of the General Association of Social Insurance.



The contract will be issued in two languages (Arabic/English), in case of any contra version, the Arabic version will be the reference.



Any other conditions stated by the Ministry confirmed in the contract.

Article (18) confirmed the principles of discrimination of labours and mentioned the following:

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"The office owner and his employees and the beneficiary are prohibited to implement any type of mistreatment or discrimination between labours on racism basis, colour, gender or any other type of discrimination restricted in the specific laws". 

Article (20): Stipulated all complaints regarding violating the law from the beneficiaries or the labours or any other parties to the concerned Directorate, this complaint will be transferred to the Ministry to deal with or to be transferred to the professional bodies according to the specific laws and regulations.



Article (22) prohibits the offices to announce the salaries in any mean directly or indirectly according to the International rules and regulations.



Article (24) The Work Inspection Offices are in charge of inspecting the offices performance and present every six months a detailed report which details the situation of the offices.



The Article (25) determined the fees obtained by the offices as following: 

10 percent of the total wages as per the contract signed between the beneficiary and the worker for the first time.



When the contract will be renewed, the office will obtain 5 percent of the total amount of the contract signed by the labour and the beneficiary.

The Social Security Law The Social Security Law did not distinguish in any of its articles between the Syrian and Foreign Labour except what was mentioned in article (94) of Law (92) for the year 1959 and its amendments, which stated the following: " The beneficiaries from the pensions fund, either Syrians or non Syrians who are leaving Syria are allowed to: (i) Transfer of their entitled salaries to the country of residence under the condition of mutual treatment between the two countries, and according to the foreign exchange rules and regulations. (ii) The request of exchanging the retirement salary with one time paid compensation. To mention that any foreign labour who is working legally in Syria according to the rules of the Syrian labour law No. 91 for the year 1959 is under the umbrella of the Social Affairs. But it is worth mentioning that the category of domestic workers (Syrians and foreigners) are covered by the social security law, as the employer is not bind by this law to contribute on behalf of his employees with the full pension fund unless they exceed five workers. On the other hand, the special regulation no.81 for the year 2006, which regulated the work of domestic workers, obliged the employer of the domestic worker to contribute to the work accident fund in the Insurance Fund of the General Association of Social Affairs.

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Generally, the social security system includes three Insurance Funds: a) Pensions fund; b) Work injury fund; c) Indemnity fund. The contribution rate requested to enroll an employee in the Social Affairs is approximately 24 percent of the basic salary, the employer is obliged to contribute with 17 percent while the worker's contribution is 7 percent. For more details, refer to the Social Security Law in Syria.

Public and Private Employment Offices and their relationship: The rules and regulation of the public employment office in Syria don't play any role in recruiting and employing the foreign labour, its role is limited in offering services to the Syrian citizens. For the time being there is no authorised private employment offices yet no rules and regulations that allows and regulates these offices existence and role in the labour market. Except in the case of the private employment offices for recruiting and employing the foreign domestic workers and till date of this study there is no single legalised office or agency. To mention that there are some offices specialised in recruiting and employing foreign labour in Syria and Syrian Workers abroad, these offices are illegal, they are prosecuted and closed by work Inspector for illegality The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Syria is working on a project to set a regulation for the employment offices of Syrian labour abroad, while the legalization of importing and employing Offices for foreign labours is not within the Syrian government prospective. This trend was shared with the Labour Union. Therefore, we conclude that there is a direct relation between the employer who seeks employing foreign labour and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs which is the work permission the employer needs to obtain from the ministry, in conjunction with the decree No. 2040 for 2005.

FOREIGN LABOUR EMPLOYMENT AND RECRUITMENT PROCEDURES AND CRITERIA As we mentioned before the decree 2040 for 2005 includes the organisation of importing and employing Foreign Labours in Syria, and we indicated the most important regulations of this decree, below we mention some of the procedures concerning the import and the employment of Foreign workers in Syria : The procedures of the work permits include the following

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(a) The employer will apply a written request to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs according to the attached form (Form No.1) (b) The following documents should be attached with the aforementioned application: (i) Approved copy of the work license which organise the office activities (ii) Any other documents or information requested by the Ministry. (c) After the approval receipt from the MoLSA concerning the import of the Foreign Labour, the employer has to present the work primission request as per the attached form (Form No.2), the following documents will be attached to the request: 

An approved copy of the contract signed by the employer and the applicant, two copies.



An approved copy of the document which declares the academic and professional qualifications and previous work certificate of the applicant.



One copy of the applicant's passport plus two personal photos.



Clearance from the previous employer in case of transfer from one job to another in Syria.



Copy of the bank guarantee presented by the employer to the MoLSA.



Special authorisation to practice a specified job in case needed (when requested).



Any other documents requested by the MoLSA.

(d) The specialized Directorate in the governorate will verify and transfer the application to the Ministry to study and take the adequate decision. (e) In case of primary approval of the request, the Immigration & Passport Directorate in the ministry of Interior will be informed to facilitate obtaining necessary residence permit (f) The final permission will be given to the applicant after issuing the residence permit from the Immigration & Passport Directorate, together with notification from the General Association of Social Affairs informing the enrollment of the applicant in the Social Insurance (the work injury fund). The working License will be issued from the MoLSA for one year to be renewed yearly according to a work card in accordance with the attached form (Form No.3) issued by the concerned directorate after the Minster's approval. This card include the following information: 

The name of the employer and the establishment



Name of the employee according to his passport details(Nationality, Job) and the permitted work province.

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Starting and expiry dates of the License



Seal and signature of the specialized Directorate

The foreign labour should be adhered to framework of the license e.g. job and permitted governorate. He/she is allowed to be transferred to another governorate on the condition of informing the specialised Directorate to obtain the related work permission upto the expiry date of his/her license period. In case the foreign labour wishes to change his job specified in the license, he/she has to submit a new work application. The foreign labour has the right "in accordance with the working License", to get the residency in Syria during the period mentioned in the license and to work according to the conditions specified in the license, and to be registered in the Social Insurance with the conditions applied to the Syrian Labour

Work License Fees: The work license fees reaches approximately 5 percent of the total annual worker's wages, but not to exceed the amount of 25000 S.L. (USD500) paid by the employer, the employee is exempt from these fees. The Syrian law and regulations are sort of lean towards illegal workers as it does not include a deport penalty for illegal workers who works without permission, the penalty will be 500 S.L. = USD 10. But the foreign labour can be deported by the Directorate of Immigration if he/ she breaks residence law. It rarely happen in Syria to deport any worker and many exemptions take place for human and national reasons.

Statistics concerning working licenses for the year 2006 Based on the data provided from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, which is the sole authority that is responsible for issuing the labour licenses, Table 1 below illustrates the number of applicants of foreign workers in each Syrian governorate (province) for the year 2006 :

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Table 1 Applications for work permits 2006 Province

No. of licensed workers

Requests under discussion

Rejected applications

Total Applicants

780

748

136

1664

1276

53

4

1333

1.

Damascus

2.

Aleppo

3.

Dam. Suburb

156

169

48

373

4.

Homs

197

32

-

229

5.

Hama

142

30

4

176

6.

Tartous

122

47

6

175

7.

Hasakeh

44

30

12

86

8.

Latakia

45

24

-

69

9.

Idleb

24

24

-

48

10.

Daraa

7

36

-

43

11.

Sweida

3

39

-

42

12.

Deir Ezzor

12

12

7

31

13.

Raqqa

8

8

-

16

14.

Kuneitra

2

2

-

4

2818

1254

217

4289

Total

1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

Ku

ne it r a Ra D qq ei rE a zz or S we id a D ar aa Id le La b ta Ha k ia sa ke Ta h r to us Ha m a Da Ho m m .S s ub ur Al b D epp am o as cu s

1‫ةلسلستم‬

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Table 2 Distribution of work permits according to nationalities Nationality

No. of licensed Requests under Rejected Total workers discussion applications Applicants

Indonesia

1152

142

0

1294

Lebanon

429

254

13

696

Philippines

217

19

0

236

Iraq

156

144

56

356

Jordan

120

139

67

326

Egypt

121

89

15

225

Palestinian from non residents

80

59

10

149

Turkey

58

84

3

145

Iran

31

62

1

94

Sudan

17

16

24

91

Ethiopia

67

21

0

88

Chili

68

0

0

68

Libya

60

4

1

65

India

36

17

0

53

Ukraine

32

15

0

47

Tunisia

20

20

2

42

Saudi Arabia

13

19

2

34

Russia

27

7

0

34

Algeria

18

18

8

34

Yemen

18

10

3

31

Morocco

10

8

6

24

Armenia

21

3

0

24

*Other Nationalities

64

88

6

158

2836

1237

216

4289

Total Ministry of labour and Social Affairs

*Nationalities of applicants that are less than 15 per nationality, including ( Greece,Pakistan,Sri Lanka, France, China, Canada, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Romania, Sweden, Somalia, Germany, Afghanistan, Slovakia,Moldavia, Uzbekistan, USA, UAE, Thailand, Zech, Bologna, Mozambique, Kazakihstan, Japan, Denmark Borkina Faso, Bella Russia, Australia, UK, South Africa, Sieralion,Paraguay, Nigeria, Nepal, Mauritania, Korea, Kongo, Italy, Eriterea, Denmark, Bulgaria, Argentina )

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Distribution of work permits according to nationalities 1400 1200 1000 800

1‫تم‬ ‫ةلسلس‬

600 400 200

Indonesia

Philippines

Jordan

Palestinian from non

Iran

Ethiopia

Libya

Ukraine

Saudi Arabia

Algeria

Morocco

(4)Other Nationalities

0

The following table illustrates the number of applicant for a residency in Syria from foreigners. Table 3 Number of residents with no work permits

No. of residents with work permits

No. of residents from domestic workers

Total

36.693

5.886

11.719

54.298

Thus we conclude the following : The total number of applicants from foreign workers is ( 4289) worker only, which does not reflect the actual number that exceeds this number and that reflects the presence of high illegal foreign labour in Syria, and that might be as a result of the following : (a) The lean rules and regulations related to residency and the lack of monitoring and accountability systems, also the exemption of the visa for Arabs is another factor. (b) The employers tendency to avoid registering their foreign employees in the social security and getting a work permit in order to make it easier to fire the employees with less constraints and to save the application fees and the bank guarantee needed. (c) The insufficient efficiency of the labour inspection system in general and especially its role in regulating the foreign labour. (d) The relatively complicated and long procedures are needed to obtain a work permit, also, the tough conditions related to non competency with the national labour force.

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The larger number of migrant labour is focussed in the major cities with the higher economical activity like (Damascus and it's countryside, Aleppo, Homs, Hamah). The above table lead is to conclusion that the larger number of migrant labour is from Arab nationalities (Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt) and that there is a relatively high number of foreign labour from Indonesia, Philippine and Ethiopia and most of them are domestic workers. Table (3) illustrates that the total of residents in Syria with residency permit for 2006 is (54.490 persons) and this figure is much less than the actual number, as there are others who are entering the country based on a tourism visa and they stay for work, especially the ones from Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Egypt. We also conclude that most of the residents who have work permits are from domestic workers who are bound and encouraged to do so by the embassies of their home countries in Syria. Yet the number does not indicate the actual figure as most of them are illegally working and staying in Syria.

THE ROLE OF WORK INSPECTION IN APPLYING THE LEGAL CADRE The work inspection in Syria suffers from major problems which negatively effect its productivity and effectiveness. The most important problems are: The number of work inspectors is limited and less than the required number comparing to the number of economical establishments inspected (total number of inspectors in Syria do not exceed approx. 100 inspectors). e.g. in Damascus suburban which includes the major number of establishments among the Syrian Provinces, the number of inspectors does not exceed five inspectors. Weakness of capabilities and skills of the work inspectors and the great demand for training and capability building. The weakness of motivation and compensation systems of the work inspectors, also, the election and applied designation methods The corruption and it's influence on the performance of the work inspectors and the feeble of work mentalities The vague functional role of the work inspectors and labours; and guidance role of employers and employees where the inspection activity is stimulated as policeman. Weakness of material capabilities of the work inspectors e.g. necessary transportation during tours in general.

Labour inspection and foreign labour The insufficient activity of the inspection system is also reflecting the activity of the work inspection role in the field of foreign labour, where this role is limited by controlling the

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working cases with the absence of work license, even this role is not effectively applied as the number of foreign labours working without licenses exceeds the number of foreign labours holding work licenses, we notice in tables 1 and 2. that the total number of licensed foreign workers in Syria is 2818 workers, while the actual number of foreign labours is higher than this number. The number of inspection reports regarding the work licenses is limited compared to the big number of law breaking in this field. In meantime, the ministry with the cooperation of ILO is preparing a study of the actual work inspection system in Syria to identify the legal, financial, and training needs. There is no specific unit in the work inspection system for the foreign labours Generally, the Work Directorate in the ministry is responsible for the work inspection activities in Syria. All other work inspection departments within the Directorates in the Syrian Provinces are allied to the main Directorate in the Ministry.

Complaining mechanism and fulfillment The same complaining mechanism apply to both Syrian and foreign labours. They have the right to present their complains to the Ministry of Labour and its Directorates in the provinces. The work inspectors will detect these complains and deal with it. The organisation chart of the labour inspection system in the ministry of Labour and social affairs Ministry of labour and Social Affairs Central Labour directorate in the ministry Central department for labour inspection in the ministry Labour Director in the governorate

Labour Director in the governorate

Labour Director in the governorate

Labour inspection department in governorates Inspector Inspector Inspector

Functional Relation Executive authority

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The Inspection in the Occupational Health and the Social Security This is related to the General Association of Social Security which is administratively allied to the Ministry of Social Affairs to whom a special Directorate is located. The Social Insurance Association has its own inspection system for the occupational health as mentioned before. In the mean time the work inspectors of the Ministry & its directorates in the provinces have the right to inspect in the field of social insurance, occupational health in coordination with the Association of Social Security. To mention that there are inspection tours in coordination with the work inspection, social affairs inspections and the Labour Union.

The prostitution amongst the imported labours It is not an important phenomena in Syria, while there are few cases being treated with the specialised Directorate in the Ministry of Interior, responsible for prostitution control. The Syrian laws prohibit prostitution, strict penalties are applied to those who practice prostitution and/or facilitate it. There is a strong control on the white slavery, a specific law in this concern is issued.

The gaps in the labour inspection related to vulnerable migrant workers In the process of evaluating the role of labour inspection in regulating the migrant labour, we need to address the following gaps especially that related to vulnerable migrant labour: (i) Most of the vulnerable migrant labour are amongst the non-skilled labour, this kind of labour which is available in Syria, and according to the Syrian rules which does not allow work permits to foreigners unless in the case of availability of national labour of the same qualification. Therefore, most of the vulnerable migrant labour are working illegally and as a result they are attaining the proper labour conditions. (ii) Because of the problems of the labour inspection in Syria; referred to earlier in this part of the report, the labour inspection lacks the capacities needed for monitoring the compliance to work conditions of the vulnerable migrant labour, especially, what is related to the wages and occupational health. (iii) The Syrian labour code does not allow labour inspectors to enter the households, and that affects the role of labour inspection in monitoring the working conditions of the female domestic workers, who are working in households. (iv) The claiming system is considered a bureaucratic one, with a limited effectiveness and does not help in concealing claims at the proper time. And in the light of these gaps, the following suggestions may be raised as was to overcome the problem of the labour inspection and fill in the gaps :

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Establishing a dedicated unit for migrant labour inspection in the ministry and it's directorates.



Simplify the procedures needed to get the work permits for the vulnerable migrant labour with fees that matches their low income.



Cooperating with the ILO to set a work plan that aims to raise awareness and build capacities of the labour inspectors in migrant labour issues.

THE ROLE OF MINISTRY OF LABOUR IN COORDINATING WITH THE LABOUR MIGRATION As previously mentioned there is no specific documented policies concerning Foreign Labour Immigration into Syria, but, the general trend is to eliminate this event. The actual role of the ministry is to organise importing and employing of foreign labours and issue work licenses. The ministry is seeking to conduct studies and surveys of foreign labours in Syria and their conditions to enable the ministry to establish adequate policies and programmes to deal with this case. The Ministry coordinates with the Ministry of Interior to study the problems of foreign labours, but, the actual level of this coordination does not reach the required level and needs much more efforts. The essential associations concerned with the immigrated labour situation. 

The Governmental authorities: The Ministry of Interior especially the Directorate of Immigration.



Importing and employing Offices: In Syria there is no specified offices responsible of the foreign labours, upto now.



Employers: The Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industrial Chambers are less concerned in this and there is no coordination with the Ministry in this topic.



The General Union of Labours: This union is cooperating with the Ministry to deal with the problems of Immigrated labours and solve their problems, as there is an acceptable level of social dialogue between them in this issue.



Immigrated labours: The Immigrated labours do not have a special organisation in Syria, generally their problems are discussed with their embassies in Syria.

Tripartisation and Social Dialogue As a matter of fact, there is no identified framework or structure through which the migrant labour issues could be addressed to the three partners of production, in the context of social dialogue. This leads to the need for such structure to organise and institutionalise

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tripartisation and social dialogue. ILO could provide a great support in this regard especially through raising awareness and capacity building in the ministry, the employers representative and labour union. Although the labour union is doing some efforts to handle the issues of the migrant labour; yet these efforts may be considered limited, especially that the labour union has the perception on the migrant labour as a competing labour to the national one with a negative impact on the efforts of reducing unemployment.

THE ILLEGAL FOREIGN LABOURS Dealing with the illegal foreign labours in Syria can be described as civilised and human. The Syrian law has imposed a small financial penalty (USD 10) upon the workers who break the law for working without legal license. Although the residence law in Syria impose deporting penalty to the foreigners who are illegally resident, these cases are rare, because of human and political reasons specially for Arab countries' citizens which have national relations with Syria. This politics has resulted in the presence of a comparatively big number of illegal Arab labor especially the under skilled category which has increased after the arrival of Iraqi migrants into Syria after the American occupation to Iraq.

The general remit and its consequences A general remit is issued in Syria yearly concerning the Syrian and foreign condemned for breaking the law of residency. This increases the number of illegal workers in Syria with the majority of under skilled labours.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Given the limited availability of data and information on the issues related to migrant labour, the following is recommended : (i) The necessity of the support of the International Labour Organisation to the Syrian Government to help setting specific and clear polices for the migrant labour, its regulations and the implementation of these policies through proper programmes. (ii) Supporting the studies and surveys to form a proper data base for migrant labour in Syria, which will assist in setting the polices and programmes and support the decisions of the policy makers. (iii) Continue the amendments of the national legislations and regulations in conjunction with the foreign labour's work and residency.

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(iv) Supporting the inspection system and developing the capacity of inspectors in a way that enables them to perform in a more supportive and guiding manner rather than the tendency to do inspection as a policemen. (v) It is recommended to have a better coordination between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the related parties to the foreign labour and expanding the scope of cooperation to include the NGOs, the labour organisations and the employees representatives. (vi) Setting policies and effective programmes to deal with the illegal foreign labour in Syria in a way that helps in effectively limiting this incidence. (vii)Reconsidering and reviewing the rules and the procedures needed to obtain a work permit, meanwhile, activating the labour inspection in this field and have a more effective penalties on the once that violates these rules and regulations. Speeding up with the process of licensing the private recruiting and employing agencies for the domestic workers; and reviewing the recruitment and employment process of these workers in a way that guarantees their rights for a decent work conditions.

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Form 1 Application Form for a work permit From the directorate to the ministry

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Application Form Form 2 For a work permit applied from the foreign worker

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Application form from the employer to the ministry to ask for permission on recruiting an expert

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Application for Work permission for Domestic workers

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Commitment to the Rules and Regulations of the foreign Domestic workers

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Delegation form : from employers of Domestic workers to the employment office to recruit and import the domestic worker

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Financial Bond (clarification of a bank deposit that is paid by domestic workers recruitment offices and represents a financial guarantee and commitment)

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