Quack Chinese engineers flock to Turkey, alarming authorities

Quack Chinese engineers flock to Turkey, alarming authorities

Hacer Boyacıoğlu ANKARA
Quack Chinese engineers flock to Turkey, alarming authorities A recent legislative change has allowed quack Chinese engineers to work in Turkey without social security, creating unfair labor competition, the deputy head of the social security agency has said.

A decision taken by the Turkish Council of State last August allowed foreign workers, from countries that Turkey does not have bilateral social security agreements with, to work without being registered in the country's social security system.

Social Security Institution (SGK) Deputy Director Cevdet Ceylan, who urged the Planning and Budgeting Committee in Parliament for a change to the law, said this regulation has allowed Chinese workers with forged diplomas in engineering to find jobs in the mining and construction sectors. China is currently one of the countries that Turkey does not have an accord with.

“Chinese people can get a document claiming they are engineers [and then they can] enter Turkey without any problems,” Ceylan said during a presentation to the Commission, which is debating an amendment to the current legislation.

He also said it was very difficult to verify the authenticity of the document due to China’s unknown and centralized system, which paves the way for people to forge documentation.

According to the current system, there are time limitations for citizens of countries that Turkey has bilateral agreements with. However, this system does not apply for Chinese citizens who are exempt from these limitations and are able to stay in Turkey for an indefinite period of time.

“When they [Chinese] find opportunities to work [here] without being registered by the Turkish social security system, labor costs drop for the employers [because Chinese workers are cheaper to employ than locals],” Ceylan said, arguing that the current system encourages Turkish companies to employ Chinese workers.

Because companies benefit from employing low-paid Chinese workers, local authorities have begun to seek ways to eliminate the current bureaucratic, which has led to a rise in the number of Chinese workers in Turkey.

Ceylan has pushed for a change in the law to force foreign workers to be registered in the social security system.

“We hope this regulation will eliminate the exploitation of foreign workers [in Turkey],” Ceylan added.