Turkey: Work Permits for Foreigners in Turkey

The principles and procedures regarding the issuance and validity of work permits for foreigners in the Republic of Turkey ("Turkey") is regulated in the Law Regarding Work Permits for Foreigners (the "Law No. 4817") published in the Official Gazette dated March 6, 2003 and No. 25040. According to the Law No. 4817, foreigners are required to obtain work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (the "Ministry") before commencing to work in Turkey.

Work permits for foreigners are governed by the following regulations: (i) the Regulation Regarding the Employment of Foreign Personnel (Key Personnel) in Direct Foreign Investments published in the Official Gazette dated August 29, 2003 and No. 25214 (the "Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Foreign Key Personnel"), (ii) the Regulation On the Implementation of the Law Regarding Work Permits for Foreigners published in the Official Gazette dated August 29, 2003 and No. 25214 (the "Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Foreigners") (iii) the Regulation Amending the Regulation On the Implementation of the Law Regarding Work Permits for Foreigners published in the Official Gazette dated January 21, 2010 and No. 27469 (the "Amendment") and (iv) the Law Amending the Law On the Collection Procedures of the Public Receivables published in the Official Gazette dated February 5, 2010 and No.5951. (the "Law No. 5951")

A.WORK PERMITS FOR FOREIGN KEY PERSONNEL

The issuance of work permits for the Key Personnel is regulated under this Regulation. Key Personnel refers to and stands for the personnel of a company organized and registered as a legal entity in Turkey who fills at least one of the following conditions:

(i) company shareholder, chairman of the board of directors, member of the board of directors, general manager, deputy general manager, company manager, company vice manager, or similar other titles or positions, who are entrusted with or authorized for at least one of the following functions and responsibilities:

  • to work in the top management or executive positions of the company; or
  • to manage the whole or a division of the company; or
  • to supervise or control the internal auditors, or administrative or technical staff of the company; or
  • to recruit new personnel for the company, or to dismiss the existing personnel, or to make proposals thereon.

(ii) persons holding basic and key information about services, researches, equipment, techniques or management of the company; or

(iii) for the liaison offices, not more than one person to whom a certificate of authorization is issued and granted by the foreign parent company.

Moreover, in Article 6 (Employment in Liaison Offices) of the Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Key Personnel, it is set forth that at most one person holding a certificate of authorization in a liaison office operating pursuant to and under the Direct Foreign Investment Law will be granted a work permit by the Ministry, provided that minimum 200,000 USD or its equivalent in any other foreign currency was transferred from abroad for funding the liaison office operations in the previous year.

Work permit applications under the Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Key Personnel can be made either abroad or in Turkey.

Foreigners regarded as Key Personnel to be employed may submit their application for work permit to the diplomatic representatives of Turkey in their country of origin or country of permanent residence, together with the required documents set out in the Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Key Personnel. The Turkish diplomatic representatives through which the application is made, shall forward the application documents to the Ministry through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The documents required from the employer must be submitted to the Ministry within 10 (ten) days from the date the foreigner applies to the relevant Turkish diplomatic representatives.

If a foreigner (or their employers) regarded as Key Personnel is legally resident in Turkey at the time of the application, such persons may submit an application for work permit directly to the Ministry together with the required documents.

The Ministry shall conclude the application within 15 (fifteen) days from the date of the application provided that all the documents are accurate and complete. For the applications filed abroad, the aforementioned period shall start from the date the Ministry receives all relevant documents.

B.WORK PERMITS FOR FOREIGNERS IN GENERAL

Pursuant to the Regulation Regarding Work Permits for Foreigners, work permit applications can be made either abroad or in Turkey.

Only foreign nationals with valid residence permits for at least six months or their employees can make an application from inside of Turkey.

In case the work permit is granted as a result of a work permit application made in Turkey, such foreigner is obliged to apply to the Foreign Affairs Department of the Police Headquarters in order to obtain/extend the residence permit within 30 days from the notification date of the work permit. Otherwise, such work permit will become null and void.

In order to apply for a work permit from abroad, an application must be filed in writing or online before the Turkish diplomatic representatives of Turkey in the foreigner's country of origin or country of permanent residence, together with the Foreign Personnel Application Form and the other required documents. The Turkish diplomatic representatives through which the application is made shall forward the application material to the Ministry through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Turkish diplomatic representatives and Ministry shall execute the transactions regarding the work permit from abroad via internet. The documents required from the employer must be submitted to the Ministry at the date the foreigner applies to the relevant Turkish diplomatic representatives or within 10 (ten) days from this date. In addition, work permit applications submitted by the employer in Turkey to the Ministry 10 (ten) days before the date of application to the Turkish diplomatic representatives shall also be evaluated.

Work permits shall be given in the form of a written letter or in electronic form.

Foreigners legally resident in Turkey at the time of application, or their employers, may make an application for a work permit directly to the Ministry, together with the abovementioned documents.

In accordance with the Law No. 5951, the Ministry shall conclude the application within 30 (thirty) days as of the date of the application, provided that all the application documents are properly complete. For the applications filed abroad, the aforementioned period shall start from the date the Ministry receives all relevant documents.

Also, pursuant to the Law No. 5951, the foreigner applying for work permit in relation to employment services (engineers, architects and city planners, etc.) could be given a prior permission not to exceed 1 (one) year until the completion of procedures related to academic and professional competency save for the relevant legislation provisions.

C.EXTENSION OF WORK PERMIT

The request for extension of the work permit shall be made by the foreigner or the employer directly to the Ministry by enclosing the application form and the original of the former work permit to the documents mentioned in the attachment to the Regulations.

For the extension of a work permit the period of which has expired, application for extension has to be filed, the latest, within "fifteen days" from the expiry date. Applications for extension filed after this period shall be subject to the principles applied to foreigners submitting their initial application.

In case the work permit is extended, the starting date of the extended work permit, is the date on which the terminating work permits ends.

D.RESIDENCE PERMIT BASED ON WORK PERMIT

According to Article 12 of the Law No. 4817 and the Amendment, work permits issued by the Ministry are valid and effective on condition that the relevant foreigner acquires a work permit and a residence permit. After obtaining the work permit, the foreigner is required to (i) apply for an entrance visa to Turkey within 90 (ninety) days at the latest as of the date of the issuance of the work permit, and (ii) apply for a residence permit to the Foreign Affairs Department of the Police Headquarters in the city where the head office of the employer is located, together with the Declaration for Residence Permit within 30 (thirty) days at the latest as of the date of entrance into Turkey.

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.

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