Working and Finding Job in Turkey as a Foreigner
Expat Job Opportunities in Turkey
Question: I’m an expat, can I work in Turkey?
Answer: Yes, you definitely can - and many do - as Turkey recently surpassed over 100,000 work permit applications to foreign nationals this year. And with the recent Government initiatives simplifying the work permit procedure - there’s no better time to apply!
That’s great news, so where do I find work in Turkey?
Work is available in Turkey if your qualifications match the advertised position. For the majority of advertised job vacancies, you will naturally find the employer’s need for knowledge of the local language, Turkish. However, there are sectors in the local economy that regularly advertise positions where fluency in Turkish is not mandatory. While knowledge of a little Turkish would help, the following positions are generally accepting of little-to-no Turkish.
English Speaking Nannies
There is always high demand for native English speaking expatriates - especially qualified teachers - who are most sought after for English teaching jobs. Opportunities are still plentiful if you are not currently a qualified teacher, as many native English expats have secured teaching jobs with public and private schools. There are also job opportunities in Turkey for English speaking expats in private tutoring, especially English as a Second Language (ESL). Helping prepare students for ESL exams and general course work is a popular path to regular employment for English speaking expatriates in Turkey.
English speaking nannies in Turkey are frequently in demand as parents wish to expose their children to English early in life. Advertised positions for nannies comprise of a salary plus live-in arrangements including accommodation and meals, with some positions at certain times only, usually before and after school hours.
Job Opportunities in Turkey for Multilingual Expats
I speak English and several other languages - can I find work in Turkey?
Tourism Jobs in Turkey for Expats
Besides teaching and nanny jobs, Turkey’s tourism sector is an active employer of expat workers, particularly multilingual speakers. The more languages you know, the more valuable your qualifications to the employer, and the greater your job opportunities. Multilingual speakers are always in high demand in the tourism industry with a particular need for candidates fluent in Russian, Arabic, German, Dutch and English.
International Organisations in Turkey
Turkey is known for its humanitarian efforts and many international humanitarian organisations have a presence in Turkey. International humanitarian organisations often advertise job vacancies for multilingual candidates.
Hiring: Real Estate Agents in Turkey
Leading real estate agencies with an international client base are active employers of expats who speak several languages. There are often times when Turkish real estate agents advertise open vacancies for multilingual staff.
Quotas and Profession Exclusivity
In an effort to protect the interests of the national workforce, Turkey implements a quota system for foreign hires: one expat worker per five Turkish workers in a company. Furthermore, certain professions are exclusive to Turkish nationals only such as lawyers, notary officials, customs and immigration, nursing, veterinarians, and pharmacists.
Foreigners cannot get a work permit on their behalf, the application should be done by the employer or its consulting company. If you are abroad you can apply for your work permit in your home country through the local Turkish Consulate. If you are in Turkey, your employer applies for your work visa on your behalf. Your employer will require the following documents: your passport (with a minimum of six months validity), your qualifications (degree, certificates, etc), four biometric passport photos, completed work permit application form. Your employer will be required to submit a letter of confirmation of your employment to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
Work Permits for Entrepreneurs and Investors
For the self-employed, Turkey offers one-year work permits to allow you to explore business opportunities, conduct research, attend trade shows, and incorporate a business. If you’re an investor, Turkey offers citizenship if you meet any one of the following requirements:
1. Invest a minimum of five hundred thousand United States dollars (500,000 USD) for a minimum term of three (3) years in a fixed deposit in a local Turkish bank, Government Bonds or Turkish real estate investment trusts (REITs).
2. Purchase real estate for no less than two hundred and fifty thousand United States dollars (250,000 USD) and undertake in the registry that you will not sell the real estate for a minimum of three (3) years. Source of funds for investment must self-funded and paid in full (no bank finance or credit permissible under this category of permit).
3. Create employment for a minimum of fifty (50) employees, provide all employees with social security and maintain the business, employees and social security payments for a minimum of three (3) years. Your Work Permit Provides Social Security and Health Care Turkey’s state social security is called Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK) and all residents are covered unless you have coverage from abroad or local private medical insurance. As an employee, you are entitled to healthcare in state hospitals and clinics under Turkey’s social security system. Coverage includes most health services such as GP examinations, drugs, radiological and laboratory tests, operations, dental treatment and pregnancy. Monthly social security payments are linked to the gross minimum wage. To apply for health care coverage you’ll need a full medical report from a state hospital, your work or residence permit, your passport, and a translated and notarized copy of your marriage certificate (if you want to join as a couple). To add children, translated (and sometimes legalised) birth certificates are required.
Turquoise Card Program
A recent new Government immigration initiative sees the launch of the Turquoise Card program that awards residency to applicants who meet any one of the following categories:
• Highly skilled and sought-after professions required in Turkey
• Scientists or researchers
• Successful and accomplished sports athletes, artists or entertainers
• A contribution to the promotion of Turkey and its culture
Successful applicant’s family members are also extended the same benefits of the Turquoise Card Program.
More Information about Turkish Lifestyles
• What is the Cost of Living in Turkey?: Breaking down the costs of a comfortable Turkish lifestyle.
• Education in Turkey: We take a look at international schools and how to ensure your child gets a good education.
• Buying Property in Turkey: Advice and tips on location, estate agent, and managing finances.
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