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Obtaining a Work Permit in Turkey

BERKAY YILDIRIM LACIN KAVAK
Obtaining a Work Permit in Turkey

How to Get a Work Permit in Turkey?

I. Abstract

Besides Turkish citizens, many foreigners continue their lives and earn their livelihoods by working in our country. According to Article 4 of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners No. 4817, foreigners must obtain permission (a work permit in Turkey) first before starting dependent or independent work in Turkey.

The document, which is issued as an official document by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, which gives the foreigner the right to work and residence in Turkey within the validity period, is called a “Work Permit.”

Administrative fines and temporary entry bans are imposed on foreign nationals and their employers who work them without a work permit or exemption certificate. Foreigners in Turkey are required to obtain a work permit or exemption document. But still, to obtain this work permit or exemption certificate, the foreigner must also meet certain conditions and provide the required documents.

II. What is a Work Permit in Turkey With a Definite Period?

If the work permit application is evaluated positively after the foreigner’s work permit application, with the condition of it does not exceed the duration of the employment or service contract, provided that he/she works in a specific workplace belonging to a real/legal person or public institution or in their workplaces in the same business line, provided that the duration of the employment or service contract is not exceeded a work permit valid for one year is issued.

Suppose the work permit extension application to be made is evaluated positively. In that case, the foreigner is granted a work permit for a maximum of two years in the first extension application and up to three years in the subsequent extension applications, depending on the same employer.

III. What is a Work Permit in Turkey With an Indefinite Period?

Foreigners with a long-term residence permit or a legal work permit for at least eight years in Turkey can apply for an indefinite work permit. A foreigner with an indefinite work permit benefits from all rights granted to Turkish citizens, excluding the regulations in special laws, provided that his/her acquired rights regarding social security are reserved, and the use of these rights is subject to the provisions of the relevant legislation.

The foreigner who has an indefinite work permit in Turkey does not have the right to elect, be elected, take up public duties, and do not have an obligation to do military service.

IV. What is an Independent Work Permit in Turkey?

Foreigners who are professional about some jobs can be granted an independent work permit, provided that the special conditions specified in other laws are met.

In the evaluation of independent work permit applications with international labour policy, the foreigners; education level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, the impact of his activity or investment in Turkey on the country’s economy and employment, capital share if he/she is a foreign company partner, and other issues to be determined by the Ministry with the recommendations of the International Labor Policy Advisory Board. An Independent work permit in Turkey is issued for a limited period.

V. How to Obtain a Work Permit in Turkey?

1. Obtaining a Work Permit in Turkey From Abroad

According to Article 7 of the International Labor Law, a foreigner who wants to obtain a work permit from abroad must apply for a work visa at the Consulate or Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in the country where he/she currently resides and must give the 16-digit reference number he/she gets to his/her employer in Turkey.

After a foreign national applies for a work visa from abroad, the employer in Turkey must apply for the work permit for the foreign national via e-government with a 16-digit reference number within ten working days through the online system. After this application, all required documents must deliver to the Ministry in person or by mail within six working days.

After the online application made by the employer in Turkey, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security examines the information and documents submitted by the employee and employer. If there are missing documents resulting from these examinations, the employer is requested to provide missing documents.

After all the necessary documents are collected, the Ministry examines the examinations, takes the opinions of different authorities if necessary, and gives a decision of approval or rejection for the application.

As a result of the approved work permit in Turkey, the foreign worker must pay the work visa fee of the foreign representation and obtain the visa. After obtaining a work permit in Turkey from abroad, the foreign worker must enter the Republic of Turkey within six months maximum.

The work permit document is sent to the foreign worker by PTT Cargo and can be tracked via e-devlet. This permit card is an official document that the foreign national has gained legal foreign worker status.

If the foreign worker whose application has been approved and has started to work, the employer must complete the worker’s insurance procedures through SGK within 30 days.

a) Documents Required

  • For foreigner: Employment contract, Biometric photo of the foreigner, Passport, Diploma,
  • For the employer: Tax Registration Certificate, Trade Registry Gazette, Workplace balance sheet, Workplace activity certificate, Preliminary permission document (If the foreigner is a healthcare professional, a preliminary permit is obtained from the Ministry of Health; if the foreigner is an education Professional it must be obtained from the Ministry of National Education).

Related Article: Employing a Foreign Medical Doctor in Turkey.

2. Work Permit in Turkey

To obtain a work permit for a foreign national residing in the country must have a residence permit for at least six months.

The required work permit application for a foreign worker with a residence permit must be submitted by the employer to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security through the online system.

The steps after this stage are the same for all procedures done in Turkey/abroad. The Ministry makes the necessary examinations and concludes. The documents required for obtaining a work permit from within the country are the same as those required for obtaining a work permit from abroad.

a) Documents Required:

  • For foreigner: Employment contract, Biometric photo of the foreigner, Passport, Diploma,
  • For the employer: Tax Registration Certificate, Trade registry gazette, Workplace balance sheet, Workplace activity certificate, Preliminary permission certificate (If a foreigner is a healthcare professional, a preliminary permit is obtained from the Ministry of Health; if the foreigner is an education Professional it must be obtained from the Ministry of National Education).

3. Obtaining Work Permit in Turkey For Foreigners Under Temporary Protection

For the foreigners under temporary protection, the application to obtain a work permit in Turkey must be submitted by the employer to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security through the online system. The steps after this stage are the same as the procedures for domestic applications.

For the foreigner under temporary protection to get a work permit, at least six months of the temporary protection period must have been completed as of the date of the work permit application.

Another important point is that the work permit given to the foreigners under temporary protection does not replace the residence permit. The wage to be paid to the foreigner must be at least the minimum wage.

In addition, foreigners under temporary protection who will work in seasonal agricultural and animal husbandry jobs (without the need to obtain a work permit in Turkey) can work by obtaining a work permit exemption form from the Provincial Directorate of Labor and Employment Agency.

a) Documents Required:

  • For foreigner: Employment contract, Biometric passport photo of the foreigner,
  • For the employer: Tax Registration Certificate, Trade registry gazette or Tradesman’s registry gazette, Workplace balance sheet, Workplace activity certificate, Preliminary permission document (If the foreigner is a healthcare professional, a preliminary permit is obtained from the Ministry of Health; if the foreigner is an education Professional it must be obtained from the Ministry of National Education).

4. Obtaining a Work Permit in Turkey For Foreigners Under International Protection

For foreigners under international protection, the application to obtain a work permit must be submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security by the employer via the online system. The steps after this stage are the same as the procedures for domestic applications.

International protection applicants or conditionally refugee foreigners can apply for a work permit six months after the international protection application date.

Identity documents of refugees and foreigners with subsidiary protection status replace work permits. Also, they do not need a work permit. The work permit given to international protection applicants and conditional refugees does not replace a residence permit.

The wage to be paid to the foreigner must be at least the minimum wage. In addition, international protection applicants and conditional refugee foreigners who will work in seasonal agricultural and animal husbandry jobs (without the need to obtain a work permit in Turkey) can work by obtaining a work permit exemption form from the Provincial Directorate of Labor and Employment Agency.

a) Documents Required:

  • For foreigner: Employment contract, Biometric photo of the foreigner, Passport, Diploma
  • For the Employer: Tax Registration Certificate, Trade registry gazette or Tradesman’s registry gazette, Workplace balance sheet, Workplace activity document, Preliminary permission document (If the foreigner is a healthcare professional, a preliminary permit is obtained from the Ministry of Health; if the foreigner is an education Professional it must be obtained from the Ministry of National Education).

VI. What is The Work Permit Fee in Turkey?

To obtain a work permit in Turkey for foreigners, certain procedures determined by the regulation must be fulfilled. Some fees and expenses may be incurred during the execution of these procedures.

These fees and expenses are as follows according to 2021:

  • The fee amount for a temporary work permit is 1017.80 TL.
  • The fee amount for an indefinite and independent work permit is 10,181.70 TL.
  • Card fees are the same for all work permit types, and it is 125.00 TL.

VII. Application For Extension of Work Permit in Turkey

A work permit is given to foreigners for a maximum of one year in the first place. This one year can be extended for another two years. For workers who have completed three years, an extension can be made for three more years. The foreign worker, who must work in the same workplace for the first three years, can work in any other workplace he/she wants with the same work permit after three years.

Application for employ foreign workers is made to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. This application must be made within a maximum of two months from the end of the work permit period. Application for extension of time to employ foreign workers, which is not made within this period, will not be considered. The foreign employee, for whom an extension application has been made, may continue to work at his current workplace, but it can not exceed 45 days.

VIII. What is The Penalty For Employing Foreign Workers Without Permission?

Employing foreign workers without permission is subject to an administrative fine in accordance with the International Labor Law No. 6735. This penalty is stated in paragraph 23/5-b of the relevant law as follows:

b) Without a work permit,

  1. Two thousand four hundred Turkish lira for a foreigner working under an employer,
  2. Four thousand eight hundred Turkish liras for the foreigner working independently,
  3. An administrative fine of six thousand Turkish lira for each foreigner who works under the employer or the employers representative who employs foreigners.”

In addition, in case of repetition of the acts listed above, the administrative fines are applied by increasing one fold and foreigners who are found to be working without a work permit are reported to the Ministry of Interior for deportation.


Translation: EMINE KAMACIOGLU.

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