Turkey: New Turkish International Labor Code

International Labor Code (the "Code"), entered into force upon its publication in the Official Gazette on August 13, 2016. The Code No. 4817 dated 2003 on Work Permits of Foreigners was repealed by the entry of the International Labor Code. However until all required supplementary regulations come into force; articles of the Code No. 4817 which are compatible with the Code shall be applied in order to avoid problems which may occur in the future. It is aimed to prevent illegal employment and attract qualified workforce into Turkey, since the Code No. 4817 is not adequate to regulate dynamic and ever-changing migration, employment of personnel of foreign nationality and workforce migration management, as mentioned in the preamble of the Code. At this stage, even if there are certain regulations concerning foreign employment; we believe that by-laws should be waited for a better understanding since the articles give a general frame on the matter. Essential points concerning the Code are explained in Q&A below:

1- Which Foreigners Are Within The Scope Of The Code?

Foreigners who are currently working or filed and application in order to work in Turkey; foreign vocational trainees or foreigners who applied to be vocational trainees; foreign interns and foreigners who applied to do internship in Turkey; foreigners who are serving temporarily as cross-border service providers; natural and legal persons who currently employ foreigners or who filed application to employ foreign employees are within the scope of the Code.

2- What Is A Turquoise Card? Who Are Able To Obtain It?

One of the principal amendments concerning Labor Law is Turquoise Card. However articles on its conditions and beneficiaries are not clearly regulated.

Turquoise Card is a document which provides Permanent Work Permit for an indefinite period to foreigners and Resident Permit to their spouses and dependent children pursuant to competent regulations. In accordance with international labor policy; Turquoise Card can be obtained by foreigners whose application is evaluated and approved regarding their level of education, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, effect on economy and employment through their investments and activities in Turkey; Council of International Labor Policy's proposals and Ministry's procedures and principals. Turquoise Card holders have the rights of a Permanent Work Permit.

Under the Code, qualified foreigners are specified as academics that have internationally recognized studies; those who came to the force in the fields of science, technology, industry and fields deemed strategical for Turkey; those who contribute in national economy through employment and investment or who are expected to contribute in such fields.

3- What Are The Types Of Work Permit?

Work Permit of Definite Duration: Maximum 1 year of Work Permit can be obtained by foreigners on the first application. Foreign employee should be working in a specific workplace belonging natural or legal persons or public bodies and agencies or in a specific position in other workplaces of such entities operating in the same sectors. At the end of this duration maximum 2 years of permit can be given to foreigners. At the end of those 2 years, foreign employee can obtain 3 years of permit.

Permanent Work Permit: Foreigners who have long-term residence permit or minimum 8 years of Work Permit can file an application for Permanent Work Permit. However, meeting all requirements for application does not mean that the foreigner has absolute right for obtention.

Foreign employee who has Permanent Work Permit can benefit from all rights provided by long-term residence permit. Permanent Work Permit holders can benefit from all rights that Turkish citizens have, except the regulations of private laws. Their vested social security rights are reserved and they are subject to competent laws on utilizing their social security rights. Besides Permanent Work Permit beneficiaries do not have right to vote, to stand for elections, to take charge in public service and they are not obliged to fulfill military service.

Independent Work Permit: This permit is given for a definite duration in accordance with foreigner's level of education, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, effect on economy and employment through his investments and activities in Turkey, company capital –in case foreigner is partner of a company- and Council of International Labor Policy's proposals.

4- Should A Managing Partner In Limited Liability Companies And Board Member Partners Of Joint Stock Companies Obtain Work Permit?

Pursuant to Article 10 of the Code, active manager partners of limited companies divided into shares should obtain Work Permit as well.

Exceptionally, nonresident board members of joint stock companies and partners without manager title of other type of companies and cross-border service providers whose activities do not surpass 90 days in 180 days do not have to obtain Work Permit. Definition and conditions of cross-border service providers shall be explained in detail under by-laws.

5- Is A Pre-Authorization Necessary In Order To Work In Turkey?

Foreigners that wish to work in the fields of health and education should obtain a pre-authorization, since such fields need professional competence. Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Education are entitled to give pre-authorizations. Professions requiring pre-authorization are determined by Ministry of Labor and Social Security through the opinion of abovementioned ministries.

6- How To Apply For A Work Permit?

Applications can be filed directly to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in Turkey. If application is filed abroad, it should be presented to Turkish embassies or consulates in the countries where foreigner is a citizen or a legal resident. Turkish embassies and consulates transmit the applications to the Ministry.

One of the principal amendments came into force by the Code is that foreigners can apply for Work Permit through intermediaries. Under the Code No. 4817, there is no such regulation concerning intermediaries. Procedures and principles regarding characteristics of intermediaries, their scope of task and authorization shall be regulated under by-laws.

Another principal amendment is made concerning renewal period of Work Permit. Under the Code No. 4817, it was 15 days before the expiration of the permit. In accordance with the new Code, foreigners should apply within 60-day period before the expiration of their permits. The application should be filed before the expiration date.

Applications should be terminated within 30 days, unless there is a deficiency. In case of any deficiency, this period is adjourned until all application requirements are fulfilled.

In case the application is made abroad, foreign employee should come to Turkey within 6 months following the validation date of his Work Permit. If foreigner fails to enter in Turkey within 6 months, his permit shall be revoked.

7- Is A Residence Permit Necessary After The Obtention Of Work Permit?

Work Permit holders do not need to obtain residence permit since it subrogates residence permit as well.

8- Does An EU Citizen Have Privileges On Obtention Of Work Permit?

Under the Code there are no explicit regulations regarding EU citizens and citizens of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, however it is stated that exceptions can be applied regarding Articles 7, 9 and 10 on behalf of EU and TRNC citizens. Exceptions shall be regulated by by-laws.

9- Should Spouses Of Turkish Citizens Obtain Work Permit?

Under the Code, it is accepted that foreigners who are married to Turkish citizens, residing in Turkey can benefit from exceptions like EU citizens, however Work Permit is necessary for the spouses of Turkish citizens.

10- Should A Foreign Student In Turkey Obtain Work Permit In Order To Work?

Foreign students registered into formal education program in a higher education institution can work by obtaining a Work Permit.

Foreign students who have completed their first year in pre-license and license programs can apply for Work Permit and they can work part-time pursuant to the Labor Code No. 4857. Foreign master students who are registered in formal education programs are not limited by such regulations.

11- Can A Work Permit Applicant Object To Rejection Of His Application?

In case of rejection, applicant can object to the Ministry within 30 days. If this objection is also rejected, applicant can resort to the administrative jurisdiction.

12- Shall Present Work Permits Be Affected By The Recent Regulations?

Existing Work Permits given by the Ministry or competent public bodies and agencies pursuant to previous regulations are valid during their defined period of time.

13- What Are The Consequences Of Illegal Employment?

In case of nonfulfillment of obligation to notify;

  • Foreigner who has independent or permanent work permit should pay 400 Turkish Liras,
  • Employer should pay 400 Turkish Liras for each foreign employee,

In case of nonexistence of Work Permit;

  • Foreigner working dependent on an employee should pay 2.400 Turkish Liras,
  • Self-employed foreigner should pay 4.800 Turkish Liras,
  • Employer or representative of the employer should pay 6.000 Turkish Liras of administrative fine.

Repetition of such breaches shall double the original fine.

As a summary, the Code does not regulate explicitly essential matters such as evaluating criteria on work permit applications, types of work permits, exceptions. The Code entered into force on August 13, 2016, however as mentioned in this bulletin many subjects shall be regulated under by-laws.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions