Employment of Foreigners in Turkey
By Mr. Alper Yilmaz (lawyer)
The Law on Work Permits of Foreigners (Law No: 4817) was published in Official Gazette No: 25040 on 06.03.2003. The law seeks to remove the drawbacks that arise out of the issuance of work permits via different institutions and it is introduced in order to gather all procedure and process under one hand.
Three types of work permits were regulated by the coming into effect of Law
No: 4817. These types are periodical and permanent work permits that are issued
for dependent workers, work permits for independent or self-employed foreigners
and exceptional work permits.
The law regulates that it would be possible for dependent workers to get a
permanent work permit if they fulfill the requirements and satisfy conditions.
Periodical work permits are given to foreigners according to their residence
permit and their contract of service and would be valid for working in one company
or in one profession for at most one year. Following this period, those work
permits could be extended for at most three years on the condition that the
person would have to work in the same company or in the same profession. The
law also regulate that these periodical work permits could be extended following
these three years as to allow the foreigner to work for six years in the same
profession within any company he or she wants.
Foreigners who reside in Turkey for a continuous period of eight years or who
have worked legally for six years would be allowed to have an unconditioned
and permanent work permit regardless of the developments in work life and the
condition of the market.
Foreigners that work as independently would also be allowed to have a self-employment
or independent work permit in case they fulfill the condition of legally residing
in Turkey for at least five years.
It is also possible for the foreigners satisfying the conditions in Article
8 of Law No: 4817 to have exceptional work permits. Differing from the work
permits of dependent and independent foreign workers, work permits of these
persons wouldn't be subjected to any limitation of time.
Foreigners have to apply for work permits in the embassies or consulates of
the Republic of Turkey in their country of origin. Following this application,
the application documents shall be transferred to the Ministry of Labor and
Social Security. Within the three days of the foreigner's application, documents
that are required by Turkish laws will be submitted by employer to the Ministry.
It is required for the foreigner whose got acceptance from the Ministry to apply
for the entrance visa (work visa) from the relevant embassy or consulate within
the 90 days after he or she got acceptance. However, foreigners who got at least
six months residence certificate could apply directly to the Ministry within
the period of their legal residence. In such cases, foreigner's application
for a work visa would also be unnecessary. Application for extension of the
work visa could be made to the Ministry either within the fifteen days after
the end of work permit period or within the last two months of the period of
work permit. The Ministry shall give its decision on the applications within
ninety days following the application. However, in case when the Ministry notices
lack of some documents, this ninety days period would start after the applicant's
completion of his documents. The Ministry could ask for the opinions of relevant
units about the foreigner for possible security threads that could be posed
by the employment of the foreigner in the country.
The Ministry, as a result of the careful investigation and research, could
decide whether to accept or refuse the application for work permit. When the
applicant foreigner got positive response from the Ministry, he or she could
get residence permit after getting work visa if they apply from abroad or could
get residence permit directly from the relevant Security Directorate. And in
cases when the applicant couldn't get work permit, they could appeal to the
decision within the thirty days after they were notified about the decision.
They also have the right to appeal administrative courts in case when the Ministry
refuses to give the work permit for a second time.
By the entering into force of Law No: 4817 all the procedures on Work Permits of Foreigners became directed by one institution. While the institution issuing the work permits was the Foreign Capital General Directorate of the Undersecretary of Treasury before the entering into force of this law, it became the Ministry of Labor and Social Security that is authorized for the issuance of work permits. In our regards centralization of the authority and regulations is a positive and progressive step. The most problematic point causing inconvenience is the indefiniteness of the foreigner's legal status within above-mentioned the ninety days period that is required for investigation on the work permit. In other words, the question is whether the foreigner who applied for a work permit but do not yet got a response, could start his or her work in the country or not? What will the consequences of this situation with regard to the issue of social security if he or she starts working? Looking at the implementation, it could be seen that it would not be possible to apply to Social Security Institution (SSK) in the advance of getting work and residence permits. It is for such reasons that this gap in the laws should be filled in. One suggestion to remove this gap could be preparing a legal ground that allows the foreigner to work within the company of relevant employer within the time required by the Ministry to conclude its investigation. Another issue is that foreign engineers in order to start practicing their jobs in Turkey are required to register in Turkish Architects and Engineers' Chamber (TMMOB), and this registration is in need of the approval of their diploma to be approved by the Higher Education Institution (YÖK). Traversing these procedures require a very long time. However, the point that is still to be kept in mind is that the legal status of the foreigner still continues within this process. It would therefore be appropriate to introduce a regulation that would provide a legal status for foreign engineers that are applied to work in the country.
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