Foreigners who would want to work and practice their professions in Turkey must obtain a work permit under the Law on Work Permits for Foreigners ("Work Permits Law")1. This being the case, certain professions such as being a dentist, pharmacist etc. can only be practised by Turkish citizens. So, one can not deny the fact that foreigners can freely practice their professions in Turkey but of course by complying the legal requirements and procedures of Turkish law.

Is it easy? Well; you have to start at some point, so may the force be with you...

Work Permits Law states that the work permits can be obtained by the foreigners simply by applying to the Turkish embassies and consulates in the countries that they reside or of which they are the citizens. Applications can be made either in hard copy or in electronic form. The diplomatic missions of Turkey in those countries relate the work permit applications made to them, to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (the "Ministry") (Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı) of Turkey.The Ministry then evaluate the applications and conclude on the same. It is possible for the foreigners who already hold a residence permit in Turkey can directly apply to the Ministry to obtain their work permits.

How can you survive the bureaucracy?

The Ministry concludes the work permit applications of the foreigners, no later than 30 days following the date of application, if of course all the required documentation and information are furnished by the applicant. The regulation on Law on Work Permits2 (the "Regulation") provides that if the work which is the subject of the application, requires an expertise to perform; then the Ministry inquires the opinions of certain professional institutions; such as the unions, chambers etc. Finally the Ministry renders its decision on the issuance of the work permit. When inquired by the Ministry, those institutions must respond to the Ministry in no later than 15 days following the date of inquiry made by the Ministry. In making its final evaluation, the Ministry considers the developments in the daily work life changes in the conjuncture in terms of employment, geographic and financial educational background of the applying foreigner and the potential contribution of the work place to the economy in Turkey.

Congratulations! You've made it.

To date, the work permit to be issued by the Ministry used to become valid and enforceable, only with a duly issued working visa and a residence permit being issued in the name of the applying foreigner. Well, we have a good news on that: Very recently, a legislation has entered into effect providing that foreigners who already have obtained a work permit will automatically be deemed to have obtained a residence permit as well. This recent progress, means less bureaucracy and once the above procedures are completed, then the foreigners become entitled to practice their professions in Turkey.


1 Law numbered 4817 and dated 27.2.2001; published in the official Gazette numbered 25040 and dated 6.3.2003

2 Regulation published in the Gazzette dated August 29, 2003 and numbered 25214.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.