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Everything you need to know about a Turkish work permit

11th January 2019

Everything you need to know about a Turkish work permit.

Foreign citizens should obtain a work permit granted by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services which is the competent authority in accordance with Turkish law.  This is a condition and precedent to work within the territory of Republic of Turkey. The conditions and principles to obtain a work permit have been set forth at Code No: 6735 of Republic of Turkey on International Labour Force. 

• The Authority to take the Work Permit Applications 

In practise, the work permit issuance process usually starts with making the application for a work permit  to the Turkish  Embassy, Consulates and  foreign representative offices located at the home country of the Applicant. However,  if the foreign citizen has a valid and at least 6 months duration of residency permit, the work  permit application could be made  within Republic of Turkey as  an internal application.  After making the application, the required documents such as employment contract and educational certificates shall be sent by the Employer of the foreign applicant through e-permit automation system.  

• The Type of Working Permit

There are three types of work permit stipulated at Code No: 6735 of Republic of Turkey on International Labour Force. 

1. Working Permit for a Limited Period

If the application for the work permit is deemed proper by the Authority, then in the first application, a working permit for a period of maximum one year is granted to the foreign citizen applicant pursuant to International Labour Force Code No: 6735, provided that such permit shall not exceed the term of labour or service contract executed with the Employer. 

If the application for the extension of the work permit is deemed proper, a work permit for a period of maximum two years is granted for the first extension and maximum three years for the following extensions, provided that the foreign citizen who holds a valid working permit keeps working at the same business place.   

2. Work Permit for an Indefinite Period 

Foreign citizens who hold a long term residency permit or at least eight years of a legal work permit are entitled to apply for a work permit for an Indefinite Period.  However the Authority still has  a discretion to grant or refuse the application even if the pre-conditions have been met.    

The Foreign Citizen granted with a Work Permit for an Indefinite Period might exercise all the rights and benefits provided for long term residency permit holders. Besides, Foreign Citizen granted with a Working Permit for an Indefinite Period might also benefit from the similar rights granted to Turkish citizens except for the rights granted exclusively to a Turkish citizen with specific regulations. 

For instance, foreign citizen with an indefinite period work permit is not entitled to vote in the elections or become a candidate, and a Foreign Applicant cannot serve in the Turkish Army. 

3. Independent Work Permit

Foreign citizens with a professional occupation might apply for an independent work permit provided that the special conditions set forth at the pertinent laws have been met.    

In granting an independent work  permit, the Authority shall basically take into account;  the educational level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, contribution to national economy and employment, and share holders ratio in case the foreign applicant is a  share holder at a company incorporated in Republic of Turkey.

An Independent work permit is granted for a limited period of time, at the unfettered  discretion of the Authority.      

• Turkuaz Card

In accordance with international labour force policies and practises, and in the light of Applicant’s educational level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, contribution to national economy and employment in Republic of Turkey, the Authority might grant Turkuaz Card to  Foreign Citizen Applicant, upon request. 

A Turkuaz Card is granted for a transitional period of three years. Within this period, the Authority will obtain information and documentation from the Employer or the Foreign Applicant with regard to activities carried out.  If the Turkuaz Card is not cancelled within a three year  transitional period, then upon the application of Foreign Citizen applicant, the duration of the  Turkuaz Card will be switched to  an indefinite period.  The holder of a Turkuaz Card is entitled to work within the Republic of Turkey for an indefinite period of time. 

The spouse and children of the Turkuaz Card holder are granted with a document similar to and in lieu residency permit indicating that the spouse and children are relatives of the Turkuaz Card holder and are entitled to reside in Republic of Turkey for a period equal to granted to Turkuaz Card holder.    

In practise, the scholars who conduct research and studies in internationally accepted standards, people who are at the fore front of science, technology and industry, people who substantially contribute to national economy in terms of  export, employment and investment apply to and granted with Turkuaz Card. 

• The Criteria that the Employers shall meet  

Pursuant to Article 13 of the Implementation Regulation of the Code No:4817 on Working Permit of the Foreign Applicants, the standards and principles that should be met by the Employers where the foreign citizen will work, are as follows;  

1. There should be at least five Turkish citizens who are already working at the business place of the Employer. In case, working permit application is made for more than one foreign citizen to work at the same business place, there should be five more Turkish Citizen for each additional application. 

If the foreign citizen applicant is the shareholder of the Company at the same time, then “one to five” ratio shall be met in the last six months of working permit granted to foreign applicant, otherwise the work permits will be cancelled. 

2. The paid capital of the Employer Company shall be minimum 100.000 TRY, or annual gross sale shall be 800.000 TRY, or the amount of export is 250.000 USD for the previous year.   

3. The share of the foreign citizen applicant at the Company shall be at least 40.000 TRY, and the share ratio shall be at least %20 of the outstanding shares of the Company. 

4. The salary to be paid to the foreign citizen applicant shall be in compatible with the credits and qualifications of the applicant, and the minimum figures are set forth and the regulations adopted by the published  Authority. For instance top managers who are foreign citizens shall be paid five times higher than minimum wage earners, and for mid-level managers that figure is 4 times higher than minimum wage earners.

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