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Employment of Foreigners in Turkey

 Untitled Document Terms and Conditions for 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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Employment of Foreigners in Turkey
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Law on Foreigners and International Protection 2014
Changes on Work Permit
Amendment to Work Permit for Foreigners - August 2010
Working in Turkey - by Expatia
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