Work permit is the general name of the permits issued by the Ministry of Labor to foreigners and companies that will employ foreign personnel. There are four types of work permits available in Turkey: temporary, permanent, independent and Turkuaz Card.
TEMPORARY WORK PERMIT
Pursuant to the International Labor Law, the foreigner, whose work permit application is approved, shall be granted a temporary work visa for up to one year in their first application, provided that they work for a natural or legal entity, or at a certain place of business owned by a public institution or organization, or in a certain job at workplaces in the same line of business as these, on condition that the permit duration does not exceed the duration of the work or service agreement.
In the event the application for work permit extension is approved, the work permit shall be granted for a maximum of two years in the first extension application in relation to the same employer, and up to three years for the following extension applications.
PERMANENT WORK PERMIT
Foreigners who have a long-term residence permit or who are legally authorized to work at least eight years in Turkey can apply for the permanent work permit.
The foreigner who has a permanent work permit is entitled to all the rights provided by the long-term residence permit. The foreigner who has a work permit indefinitely shall enjoy the rights granted to Turkish citizens, except for the regulations in the special laws, subject to the provisions of the relevant legislation in the use of these rights, without prejudice to the acquired rights of social security. The foreigner who has a permanent work permit has no obligation to vote, to be elected and to enter public office and to perform military service.
INDEPENDENT WORK PERMIT
Foreigners who are members of professional occupations may be granted independent work permit provided that they meet the special conditions specified in other laws.
During the evaluation of the independent work permit in line with the international labour policy, the foreigner’s level of education, work experience, contribution to science and technology, the effect of the activities or investments in Turkey for the countries economy and employment rates, if a partner of a foreign venture the International Labour Policy Advisory Board suggestions will be taken into consideration.
The independent work permit is issued as a temporary permit.
In accordance with the international labor policy; Turkuaz Card is given to foreigners whose applications are approved based on their level of education, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, the impact of the activity or investment in Turkey on the country’s economy and employment, as well as the recommendations of the International Labor Force Advisory Board and the procedures and principles determined by the Ministry.
According to the provisions of the legislation, the Turkuaz Card-holder foreigner’s spouse and their dependent children are given a document showing that they are related to the Turkuaz Card-holder and that also serves as a residence permit.
However, the Turkuaz Card practice has not yet been initiated by the Ministry and applications are not accepted for now.
WORK PERMIT EXEMPTION
Article 55, titled “Exemptions”, in the Governing Regulations of Law on Foreigners’ Work Permits no. 4817, outlines the circumstances in which foreigners are exempted from the work permit:
(1) Provisions stipulated in special laws shall be reserved and, provided that the foreigner and the employer fulfill their obligations under other laws;
a) Those exempted from the work permit with bilateral or multilateral agreements to which Turkey is a party,
b) Foreigners whose permanent place of residence is abroad, yet they will be coming to Turkey for less than a month for scientific, cultural and artistic activities, and less than four months for sportive activities,
c) Those who come to Turkey for the purpose of the installation, maintenance and repair of machinery and equipment imported to Turkey, to provide training with respect to its operation, or to take delivery of the equipment, or for the repair of vehicles that break down in Turkey; (Amended statement: RG-22/1 / 2015-29244) on condition that their total stay does not exceed three months within a year from the date of entry to Turkey and that they prove their circumstance with the documents they will submit,
d) Those who are in Turkey for the purpose of providing training with respect to using the goods and services exported from Turkey or imported to Turkey (Amended statement: RG-22/1/2015-29244) on condition that their total stay does not exceed three months within a year from the date of entry to Turkey and that they prove their circumstance with the documents they will submit,
e) Those who are in Turkey as an employee who will perform or undertake similar duties at fairs and circuses that will operate outside the boundaries of licensed tourism businesses, on condition that their total stay does not exceed six months from the date of entry to Turkey and that they prove their circumstance with the documents they will submit,
f) Foreigners who come to increase their knowledge and experience for universities, public institutions and organisations by proving their status with documents not to exceed two years and limited to the duration of education,
g) Socio-cultural and important services to Turkey in a period not exceeding six months in subjects with technological training and those reported by the relevant authorities may contribute,
h) Foreigners who wish to come for the duration of the programs carried out by the European Union Education and Youth Programs Center (National Agency),
i) Foreigners to work as interns in line with the scope and duration of internship programs agreed by the Ministry, the Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs and the Council of Higher Education,
j) Foreign tour operator representatives traveling to Turkey whose incumbency shall not pass eight months,
k) Foreign football players and other athletes and coaches whose request is approved by the Turkey Football Federation or the General Directorate of Youth and Sports for the duration of their contract,
l) According to the I/10 Rules of the International Convention on the Training, Certification and Shift Standards of Seafarers, as per the bilateral protocols with states, foreign seafarers having a “Certificate of Conformity” from the relevant administration and working on ships that are registered with the Turkish International Ship Registry and operating outside the coasting line,
m) Foreign experts assigned to projects carried out within the scope of Turkey-EU Financial Cooperation Program, for the duration of their assignment, are not required to obtain work permits.
In the event the service duration of foreign architects, engineers and city planners, who are within the scope of professional services, and are subject to exemption provisions, exceeds one month, they are required to complete their academic and professional qualifications, to obtain a work permit from the Ministry, become a temporary member of the relevant professional organization and comply with the practices of the national institutions and organizations.
Exemption periods cannot be extended. Furthermore, foreigners within the scope of subparagraphs (b), (d), (f) and (h) in the first paragraph shall benefit from the exemption provisions only once in a calendar year. However, in order to benefit from this right, the residence permit which the foreigner had previously obtained for the same purpose is required to have passed three months from the expiry date. In the case the work duration will extend beyond the exemption periods, a work permit must be obtained from the Ministry.
Foreigners within the scope of subparagraphs (c) and (d) in the first paragraph shall be granted multiple entry to Turkey, provided that their total duration of stay within one year from their date of entry to Turkey does not exceed three months.
The foreigners listed in this article are required to apply for a residence permit by notifying the provincial governorship (Provincial Directorate of Migration Management) where they will work with respect to why they have come, how long and where they will be staying, within thirty days from the date of entry into the country and, under any circumstance, before commencing their activities.
It is obligatory to fulfill social security obligations regarding foreigners who will benefit from exemption provisions.
EMPLOYMENT OF FOREIGN PERSONNEL IN FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENTS
In accordance with the “Regulation on the Employment of Foreign Personnel in Foreign Direct Investments”, work permits within this scope are subject to special provisions and efforts are made to facilitate the granting of work permits.
Special Foreign Direct Investments Presenting Special Features; Refers to the company or branch that falls under the scope of the Foreign Direct Investors Law and meets at least one of the following conditions.
Values of Foreign Direct Investment Presenting Special Features (For 2019)
1. The company or branch’s last year turnover being at least 141.9 million Turkish Lira, provided that the total capital share of foreign partners is at least 1,888,190 Turkish Lira,
2. The company or branch’s export last year is at least USD 1 million, provided that the total capital share of foreign partners is at least 1,888,190 Turkish Lira,
3. Employment of at least 250 personnel registered under the Social Insurance Institution within the last year, provided that the total capital share of foreign partners is at least 1,888,190 Turkish Lira,
4. If the company or branch is to invest, the minimum fixed investment amount is at least 47.1 million TL,
5. Foreign direct investment in at least one country other than the parent company’s home country.
In the liaison offices, at most one foreigner holding a certificate of authorization shall be granted a work permit with a limited operation period by our Ministry, on condition that they have obtained an operation permit from the Ministry of Industry and Technology’s General Directorate of Incentive Implementation and Foreign Capital.
The personnel of a company established and located in Turkey with legal entity status within the scope of the abovementioned foreign direct investment that meets at least one of the conditions stated below:
1.Working in the company’s senior management or executive position,
- Managing all or part of the company,
- Supervising or controlling the affairs of the company’s auditors, administrative or technical personnel,
- Recruiting new staff or dismissing existing staff or making proposals on these matters,
- Taking part in at least one of its fields or having authority on these issues; one who works in positions such as company partner, chairman of the board, member of the board of directors, general manager, assistant general manager, director of the company, deputy director, etc.
2. A person who has the basic knowledge regarding the company’s services, research equipment, techniques or management,
3. A maximum of one person in the contact offices whose authorization certificate is issued by the parent company abroad.
Prohibited Occupations for Foreigners
Dental surgery, dentistry, nursing. (As per the Law on the Mode of Execution of Medicine and Medical Sciences)
Pharmacy (As per the Law on Pharmacists and Pharmacies)
Veterinary (As per the Law on the Mode of Formation of the Union and Chamber of Veterinarians and the Work They Perform)
Responsible directorate in private hospitals (As per the Private Hospitals Law)
Attorneyship (As per the Attorneyship Law)
Notary (As per the Notary Law)
Private security officer (As per Law on Private Security Services no. 5188, article 10 )
Exporting fish, oysters, mussels, sponges, pearls, coral, diving, seeking, piloting, captaincy, engineering, clerk, crew, etc. within territorial waters (As per the Coasting Law)
Customs brokerage (As per Customs Law no. 4458, article 227)
Tourist guidance (As per Tourist Guidance Professional Law no. 6326, article 3)