In order to work in Turkey, foreigners should obtain a working visa. In addition to this, they will also need to get a working permit. The Law Concerning Work Permits of Expatriates No. 4817, dated March 6, 2003 has introduced fundamental changes in Turkish law. One of the most crucial changes is that the competent (expert) authority for the work permits will be the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The new law has introduced four (4) types of work permits. Each type will be discussed in detail below:
• 1. Periodical/Definite: is usually given for maximum one year, taking into account factors such as the situation in the business market and etc. However, one should take into consideration that the duration may be extended up to three (3) years depending on conditions;
• 2. Indefinite: is usually given in case when foreigners have been living in Turkey ‘legally and uninterruptedly’ for at least eight (8) years or have had a total of six (6) years of working period in Turkey. Another important factor that needs to be mentioned is that under this type a work permit would be granted without any terms/conditions. However, foreigners will need to provide a certificate given by the police authorities. The next step will be to present all needed documents to the Ministry. Applicants should bear in mind that eight (8) years period does not include education time;
• 3. Independent: will be given to those foreigners who reside in Turkey ‘legally and uninterruptedly‘ for at least five (5) years. In addition, any foreigner held to be suitable for an independent work permit, first will be provided a “Certificate of Application for Independent Work Permit”. This certificate is valid for three (3) months from the date of its issue; and
• 4. Exceptional: there are exceptions when a work permit will be issued independently from the terms listed by Law. These exceptions are:
• 4.1. Foreigners married to Turkish Citizens and living in Turkey with their spouses who stay in Turkey legally. However, if the marriage breaks down before completing three (3) years, then the work permit becomes invalid;
• 4.2. Foreigners Considered having Settled Down;
• 4.3. Foreigners who have lost their Turkish Citizenship- this will only apply to those who are listed under articles 19, 27 and 28 of the Turkish Citizenship Law 403;
• 4.4. Foreigners who have completed their studies/education in Turkey (Age of Maturity must be reached). However, there is an exception to this rule, which states that the work permit will be granted to those foreigners who have been born in Turkey or have come to Turkey before turning 18 on the condition that they must provide some evidence that they have graduated from any academy, university and etc. in Turkey;
• 4.5. Foreigners who fit in within the scope of the Setting Law No. 2510;
• 4.6. Citizens of EU Countries, including their spouse and children;
• 4.7. Foreigners Commissioned with the Representations of Embassies, Consulates and International Institutions in Turkey, including their spouse and children;
• 4.8. Foreigners Coming on a Short-Term Basis for Scientific, Cultural and Sportive Purposes;
• 4.9. Foreigners featuring the Status of Key Personnel; and
• 4.10. Work Permits of Foreign Instructors at Schools active in the framework of Embassies or Consulates in Turkey, Foreigners Commissioned with Cultural Institutions as well as Foreigners to be commissioned with Religious Institutions.
As mentioned above, according to Turkish legislation, before applying for a visa to work in Turkey as an administrative or technical employee, an expatriate must first obtain a work permit. For this work permit it is necessary to establish that the applicant has adequate technical and/or administrative knowledge.
According to the Law on Work Permit of Foreigners No. 4817, dated March 6, 2003, foreign personnel that will be employed in Turkey will need first to apply to the Turkish Consulate abroad in order to obtain his/her work permit before entering Turkey. However, if the foreign personnel is in Turkey for the last six (6) months and/or if he/she is a married to a Turkish citizen, he/she may directly apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Turkey since the mentioned Ministry has right to grant, extent and cancel the work permits for foreigners to be employed in Turkey.
In addition to all said above, it is also important for enterprises to know that in order to employ foreign citizens, they must apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security with the following documents:
Documents Requested From the Foreign Personnel:
• Application form (four (4) sets);
• Passport copy (Notarized and translated into Turkish);
• Diploma copy (Notarized and translated into Turkish) (It shall be noted that this is a University degree requirement and in addition a Turkish High Education Board Equivalence decision may be required for the employee. In some circumstances for such application of a decision even the High School degree may be requested by officials);
• In case the application is made in Turkey, valid residence permit;
• Curriculum Vitae;
• For the foreigners married to a Turkish citizen, copy of identification registry; and
• For the foreigners married to a Turkish citizen, notarized copy of marriage certificate.
Extension of Work Permits:
Extension of a work permit has to be made fifteen (15) days before its date of expiry at the latest. Extension applications made after such deadline will be considered as initial applications by the Ministry rather than renewal applications. These applications may as well be made earlier, provided that they are filed within the two-months (2) before the expiry date of the work permit. In case a work permit is extended, the date of initiation of the extended work permit is the date of expiry of the expired work permit which makes more practical to apply in the last fifteen (15) days.