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Working in Turkey and what you need to know

27th January 2014

The Turkish employment law states that a 'foreigner' cannot work in a job that a Turkish citizen can do.
What this means is that as a foreigner living in Turkey there are only a few sectors in which you can work.
A foreigner needs to have certain skills, which would be of value to the company, such as language skills, knowledge of a foreign market and dealing with customers from abroad. 

The main job sectors open to foreigners include; teaching and tourism and au pairs, as well as large international companies or foreign embassies. All these jobs sectors welcome foreigners.

Many jobs in the tourist industry are located around the costal regions and are usually only available during 'high season' months - (April until October)

Working in Turkey
In order to work in Turkey legally, you must first have been granted work permission from the Turkish authorities. (a work permit)

Please note; There are certain job sectors that a foreigner cannot work in or obtain a work permit.

They are as follows;

Occupations prohibited to foreigners in Turkey

Diving, maritime navigation, working on ships, extracting wreckage, exportation of fish, other sea creatures, sand and pebbles Mining

Working as executive director in travel agencies

Professional occupations: midwife, dentist, vet, career, pharmacist, optician, and executive director in hospitals, judge, lawyer, prosecutor, security guard, and notary.

What are the working hours in Turkey?

The working week in Turkey is approx. 45 hours. Most companies expect their employees to start work at 8.30 and finish at 17.00 / 17.30 - Monday to Friday. 

However, depending on the job sector, some employers expect you to work much longer hours; 8:00 - 6:00 / 8:00 - 7:00.Monday - Saturday.
Most employers provide lunch and hot drinks throughout the working day and break times average between 15 mins to 1 hour.

What is the average salary?

In Turkey, generally the wages are low in comparison to the other European countries.The monthly average wage for a good job in Turkey is approximately 1100tl - 1700tl. Minimum wage is approximately 850 tl per month. The wages reflect on the cost of living, which is much lower than other EU countries.

For those employed by large international companies, wages are generally alot higher and are paid in dollar or Euros.

How do I Apply for a work permit?

Please note; From the 1st of April 2014 all foreigners applying for a 'first time' work permit must file an application in their own country to the Consulate of 
the Republic of Turkey. (Turkish Consulate)
*Update - For the time being all work permit applications are made in Turkey to the Ministry of labour and social security.

How to apply for a Turkish work permit?


Can I set up my own business?

Yes, as a foreigner you can establish a business in Turkey. It is irrelevant what nationality you are or your place of residence.But please be aware, that even if you own the business it does not mean that you can legally work for your company. I.e. you cannot work in an office, to do so you must acquire a work permit in order to work for you company.

Comments (1)


20th March 2015 Hoping someone can help with a question I have.

I currently have a home both in England and Turkey and work from home when in England for an English company via the internet (VPN). If I were to re-locate to Turkey - would I be able to carry on my work for the company I work for - or would I need a work permit

As I obviously would not be taking a job away from a Turkish national and would still be employed by an English company - would I be exempt from getting a permit - and if so, would I still need to advise the authorities that I am doing this ?

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