Foreign seamen who are nationals of countries with whom Turkey
has bilateral agreements pursuant to the Convention on Standards of
Training, Certification and Watchkeeping ("STCW") are
entitled to serve on board Turkish flag vessels by mere endorsement
of their seamen books.
Otherwise, seamen who are nationals of other countries are
obliged to apply for and obtain a work permit or an exemption
certificate from the Ministry of Labour in Ankara. In both cases
the seamen would also have to obtain a residence permit from the
Given that separate set of procedures need to be initiated
before the competent Security Directorate for the issue of
residence permits, this requirement places a heavy burden on the
employer of such seamen both in term of cost and time.
In a welcome move, recognising that the existing formalities and
permit requirement need to be relaxed, the Parliament passed a new
Law namely the Foreigners and International Protection Law numbered
4817 which will enter into force on 11/04/2014 (which applies
to all foreign workers in Turkey, not just seamen), pursuant
to which the work permit or the exemption certificate will also be
treated as a residence permit. It follows that seamen who obtain
either a work permit or an exemption certificate will no longer be
required to obtain a residence permit. Instead, they will be able
to start serving on board Turkish flag vessels as soon as a work
permit or exemption certificate has been issued in their name.
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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