Work permt is a permission which is given by Ministry of Labour of Republic of Turkey to foreign employees and companies which would like to employ foreigners. There is four types of work permit as temporary, permanenet, independent and Turquoise cards. The work permit application could be done via https://ecalismaizni.csgb.gov.tr/#/eizin by using electronic signature of employer or by authorized consultancy firm on behalf of the employer. Foreigners cannot obtain work permit on behalf of themself, without employers.
Under contemporary globalization, inevitably labor markets have become increasingly integrated. In order to manage international labor mobility more effectively, especially in those emerging markets and developing countries, new labor migration policies have been established or the existing ones have been re-organized rapidly. At this point, achieving a right balance between the protection of local employment and the relaxation of barriers before high-skilled foreign labor has been the main concern of the state, which led to the introduction of effective tools in the management of international labor mobility.
2003 has been a remarkable year for Turkey to review its rules and principles dealing with the employment of foreign workers in Turkey. As one of the most popular destinations within the global labor market, Turkey has introduced and effectively has reformed a new system to control foreign labor immigration. In the purpose of centralization of work permits system under one code ‘Law no: 4817 on Work Permits of Foreigners’ was originally enacted on 27th February 2003, as the principal legislation in controlling entry of foreign nationals in the Turkish labor market. Subsequently the same year ‘Regulation on the Implementation of the Law on Work Permits for Foreigners’ has been introduced to set forth the rules and principles regarding the implementation of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners. Furthermore, within the context of encouraging foreign direct investments, a new Foreign Direct Investment act was voted and became effective on 5th June 2003. Under the new FDI law, a special treatment is granted to the employment of expatriates with a separate regulation on the employment of expatriates under foreign direct investments. To encourage the employers to seek to employ high skilled foreign workers as well as to prevent informal foreign employment in Turkey, the past few years we have witnessed both systematical and procedural reforms in the Turkish legislation about the foreign labor immigration. Simplification of the eligibility conditions in work permit applications, adaptation of a new automated system for the work permit applications, a shortening in the period of the finalization of the work permit applications and a reduction in the procedural costs of applications might be considered main themes of the reform in the Turkish work permit system. There is no doubt that those further amendments have provided to the Turkish work permit system a more simplified, understandable and dynamic outlook.
The Law on Work Permits of Foreigners provides a legal framework about the employment of foreigners in Turkey by specifying the rules and the principles to be applied at the procedures concerning work permits of foreigners. The law, in its relevant sections, specifies the types of work permits, outlines the exemptions and restrictions and formulates the rules about granting, extending, rejecting and canceling the working permissions.
The Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security is entitled as a competent authority in the work permit process of foreigners. However certain Ministries, Public Institutions and Organizations are also empowered to grant working permissions. On the basis of their existing authorities arising from relevant Turkish legislation, Prime Ministry, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy , General Directorate of Free Zones and Council of Higher Education have the competence to grant working permission for specific categories of professions.
As a general rule, individuals who have no citizenship bond with the Republic of Turkey, in order to either work dependently or independently, are obliged to have a valid working permission before they start to work. Exceptionally, for the working periods no more than one month, in the state of necessity or for the sake of state benefits, by prior notification of relevant authorities and with the ministry approval, working permit may be given after starting to work.
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The rules and principles stipulated in the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners are applicable to the foreigners working dependently or independently in Turkey. Those foreigners who receive a job training and the natural and judicial persons that employ foreigners are included within the scope of Law No. 4817 as well. The term “foreigner” in general refers to a person who is not a Turkish citizen under the Turkish Citizenship Law. However those Turkish citizens by birth who got permission to renounce citizenship from the Ministry of Interior are excluded from the scope of Law No. 4817. Moreover, press reporters who are subjected to Press Law, Members of Foreign Press Organs, foreigners who are exempted from working permission requirement in their employment in Turkey due to reciprocity principle, international and European Union laws and foreigners who are employed or granted with working permission by the other Ministries, Public Institutions and Organizations  are not included within the scope of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners.
In accordance with the article 15 of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners, certain professions are reserved only for Turkish citizens. Different legal instruments in Turkey, prohibit foreigners to work either dependently or independently in certain professions and occupations. Foreigners are not allowed to work; (i) as attorney (ii) as notary public (iii) as security guard at private or public institutions (iv) as customs broker and assistant customs broker (v) as dentist, midwife and nurse (vi) as pharmacist (vii) as Veterinarian  (vii) as director in private hospitals.
Moreover in accordance with Turkish Cabotage Law
“The right to catch or obtain fish, oysters, mussels, sponges, pearls, coral, mother-or-pearl and the like, extract sand, gravel and the like, extract and salvage sunken ships and vessels or shipwrecks and the like either on the surface or on the bottom of the sea, perform diving, searching, piloting and maritime supply, work as captain, secretary, crew or workman or in another capacity on Turkish maritime vessels, and carry out wharf porterage or any type of maritime business, within Turkish continental waters, shall belong exclusively to Turkish nationals.”
Additionally, law no: 6458 on Foreigners and Internal Protection defines the cases in which foreigners may not apply for work permit. Article 27(2) of law no: 6458 states that the following foreigners (who are defined in the article 7 of the law no: 6458) may not apply for work permit.
“i) it is determined that his or her passport, passport substituting document, visa or residence permit or work permit is absent or fraudulent; or that he or she has obtained these permits fraudulently, ii) he or she does not hold a passport or a passport substitute document which is valid for at least sixty days as of the expiry of visa, visa exemption or residence permit, iii) he or she falls under the scope of the foreigners listed under the first paragraph of Article 15, without prejudice to the second paragraph of Article 15 of this Law, and regardless of whether or not he or she is exempted from a visa.”
 Law No. 5901 Date of Enactment: 29.05.2009 Published in the Official Gazette on 12 June 2009, No. 27256
 Law No. 4817, Art. 2
 Law No. 1136 on Attorneys
 Law No. 1512 on Notary Public
 Law No. 2495 on the Protection and Security of Certain Institutions and Organizations, as security guards at private or public institutions.
 Articles 227 and 228 of Law No. 4458 on Customs.
 Law no: 1219 on the Practice of Medicine and its Branches
 Law No. 6197 on Pharmacies and Pharmacists
 Law No. 6343 on the Pursuit of Veterinary Medicine Profession,
Establishment and Duties of Turkish Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Medical Chambers,
 Private Hospitals Act No. 2219
 Law No. 815 Date of Enactment: 19.4.1926 Published in the Official Gazette 0n 29 April 1926, No. 359
Work permit in turkey : There are some laws for the employment of the foreigners who reside in Turkey or that the foreigners who come to Turkey for work are subject to. Within the framework of Law on International Labour No 6735 and Law on Foreigners and International Protection No 6458, work permits of the foreigners who come to Turkey are regulated.
How many types of work permits are there?
There are 4 types of foreigner work permits in our country. These are;
- Work Permit for a Definite Period:In accordance with the International Labour Law No 6735 which came into force after being published on the Official Gazette dated 13.08.2016 and No 29800; work permit shall be granted to the individuals whose foreigners work permit application is approved for maximum 1 year provided that it does not exceed the term of the labour contract they signed with the employer. At the end of this period, a permit is granted for maximum 2 years to the foreigners who want to extend their work permit, provided that they continue to work in the same workplace. On the third and further application, work permit is granted up to maximum 3 years.
- Work Permit for an Indefinite Period:Foreigners who have long-term residence permit in Turkey and work permit for minimum 8 years are entitled to apply for a work permit for an indefinite period. Foreigners who have a work permit for an indefinite period can benefit from the rights granted to the Turkish Citizens, except for some special regulations in laws. However, they cannot benefit from rights such as military service, working at public institutions and right to vote and be elected.
- Independent Work Permit:Every foreigner cannot benefit from the independent work permit which is granted for a definite period. This permit is evaluated by the Ministry in accordance with the following criteria:
- Level of education
- Professional experience
- Contribution to be made in science and technology
- The contribution of the investment to be made in Turkey in the country’s economy
- The capital to be invested in our country, if a shareholder of a foreign company
- Turquoise Card
Turquoise Card is a card given to the foreigners who contribute in our country in the fields of economy, science, technology and industry, who invest and provide employment or who are evaluated to do so. The holders of this card benefit from all rights granted to the foreigners who have a work permit for an indefinite period. The spouses and children of holders of this card are granted a document which functions as an indefinite residence permit.
First 3 years are the transition period. Within this period, if the foreigners fail to provide the expected contribution, their Turquoise Card shall be cancelled. If the holders apply for getting Turquoise Card for an indefinite period within the last 6 months of the 3-year period, Turquoise Card for an indefinite period is given if they fulfil the required criteria. However, the applications after this 3-year period expires shall not be accepted and the card they have shall expire.
How to apply for Foreigners Work Permit?
Foreigners who want to work in our country are required to submit some documents and pass through certain stages within the scope of work permit. These are;
Foreigners work permit application is made at the Turkish Consulate from which the foreigner has obtained the residence permit or the Turkish Consulate in the country of origin of the foreigner. In the applications stage, it is obligatory to submit;
- Labour contract
- Invitation letter
- Application letter for work permit
- Foreign personnel application form
- Photocopy of the passport
- Copy of the diploma or interim graduation certificate translated into Turkish by certified translators or official institutions (in applications for household services, the applicant’s diploma from the last school he/she has graduated)
- Notarized power of attorney of the person who is authorized to submit electronic application in the capacity of “user” on behalf of the organization or institution who will employ the foreign personnel or a certificate showing that the person acting in the capacity of user works at the organization or institution which submits the application
- Turkey Trade Registry Gazette which shows the most recent capital and partnership structure of the organization or institution which will employ the foreign personnel
- Balance sheet and profit/loss statement of the last year approved by the tax office or the certified public accountant
At the same time, the organization or institution which will employ the foreign personnel in Turkey is required to scan the required documents during the electronic application and submit these documents online within the prescribed time. It is also required to submit the documents required to the Ministry of Labour and Social security by hand or mail after the application is completed.
In order to apply for a work permit, the foreigners who live in our country are required to have a residence permit which is valid for at least 6 months. The foreigners who meet this condition are required to submit their applications online. Within the 6 business days following the application, the application form and application letter must be delivered to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
What are required for acceptance of Foreigner Work Permit Application?
Even though the abovementioned steps are fulfilled, there are some conditions to be fulfilled by both the employer and the foreign personnel in order that the applications are accepted. These are;
- The employer has to employ at least 5 Turkish Citizens in the workplace. If more than one foreign personnel will be employed, it is necessary to employ 5 Turkish personnel for each foreign personnel.
- The workplace which will employ foreign personnel must have at least TRY 100.000 capital. If this requirement is not provided, the gross sales of the workplace are taken into consideration. These sales must be TRY 800.000 or the overseas sales must be minimum USD 250.000.
- If the applicant for work permit is a shareholder of a company, he/she must have a capital of minimum TRY 40.000.
- The salary paid to the foreigner must comply with his/her professional competence. According to this;
- 6,5 times the minimum wage for the senior managers,
- 4 times the minimum wage for the unit or branch directors, engineers and architects,
- 3 times the minimum wage for the ones who will be employed in jobs which require specialty or competence, teachers, psychologists, physiotherapists, musicians and stage artists,
- At least the minimum wage for the foreigners who will be employed in household services and 1,5 times the minimum wage for the foreigners who will be employed in jobs other than the above (Sales representatives, marketing-export personnel, etc.)
- 2 times the minimum wage for the foreigners who will be employed in tourism-animation and organization companies as acrobats or in similar positions and masseurs and SPA therapists, etc.
Foreigners who can get a work permit unconditionally
Unconditional work permit is granted to the foreigners who fulfil the following conditions provided that they submit the documents taken from official authorities of the Republic of Turkey indicating that they fulfil these conditions.
- Foreigners whose parents or child are Turkish Citizens,
- Foreigners who are married to a Turkish Citizen for at least 3 years,
- Citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,
- Foreigners who have residence permit within the framework of the practices of the Administration for Turks Living Abroad and Related Communities,
- Foreigners who have residence permit within the framework of the humanitarian considerations,
- Foreigners who have residence permit because of being a victim of human trafficking,
- Foreigners who have residence permit in the status of stateless (heimatlos) persons.
What are the duties of the Directorate General of International Labour?
Directorate General of International Labour, which was established when the International Labour Law No 6735 which was enacted on 28.07.2016 came into force after it was published on the Official Gazette dated 13.08.2016, has started its operation under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It was founded to determine, inspect and approve the work permits granted to the foreigners.
Where can the foreigners submit their objections if their work permit application is not accepted?
Foreigners, whose work permit or work permit extension applications are rejected, can submit their objections online within 30 days after the rejection date. In this objection, it is required to scan and upload the petition which contains the detailed explanations regarding the acceptance of the objection and other required documents. If the objection is rejected, a lawsuit may be filed.
What are the procedure for the foreigners who work illegally and the employers who employ foreigners illegally?
Administrative fine is imposed on the he employers who are determined to employ foreigners without work permit and the foreigners they employ. In addition, the employer is obliged to cover the accommodation and medical expenses of the foreigner they employ and their spouses and children if any until they leave the country as well as the expenses for the return of these foreigners and their families to their countries.
Foreigners who are determined to be working without a foreigners work permit shall be brought to the Ministry of Interior to be deported. Then they are brought to the Directorate General of Migration Administration and required procedure is carried out.
What are the professions that cannot be performed by the foreigners who have work permit?
There are some jobs that cannot be performed by the foreigners who have a work permit in Turkey. These are:
- Notary Public
- Customs Broker
- Tourist Guide
- Director of Private Medical Institutions
- Security Officer
- Fisherman, captain, ship crew, etc. in our territorial waters.
Can the foreigners who come to Turkey as tourists apply for work permit?
Foreigners who come to our country with a tourist visa cannot apply for work permit in our country. Such foreigners can go to the Turkish Consulates in their countries and submit their applications together with required documents.
Which documents are required for employing Syrians?
As known, hundreds of thousands Syrians have come to Turkey because of the turmoil which started in Syria in recent years. The employers who want to employ the Syrians who come to our country can submit their application to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. For this, it is required that minimum 6-month residence permit that the Syrian to be employed has taken from the Directorate General of Migration Administration is not expired yet.