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Working and Finding Job in Turkey as a Foreigner


In the last decade, draconian and outdated laws about working in Turkey as a foreigner have changed for the better. Before the turn of the century, many foreigners were working illegally in the country, and the results were disastrous. They didn’t have health coverage and were often overworked and scammed out of pay

Thankfully, those days are gone, and foreigners who want to live and work in Turkey now have more options.

Working in Turkey as a Foreigner: Jobs You Can Do

Foreigners are eligible to work in many business sectors, but there are a few exceptions. Security and customs jobs are forbidden as is the maritime industry. You cannot work in medical or legal sectors, including nursing, dentistry, veterinarian, and pharmaceutical. You are also forbidden from working in the notary and practising law.

Some foreigners want to be tour guides, but the job takes several years of training and requires workers to sit exams to gain their qualifications. However, seasonal jobs like being a holiday rep or hotel entertainment staff are open to foreigners.

Another popular choice is to teach English. You’ll need a TESOL qualification, and to plan your lessons carefully, but many teachers say it is incredibly rewarding and accommodation is often included.

Aside from that, some foreigners work for international companies with offices in major cities. If you have a skilled trade, your chances of gaining a well-paid job are higher.

Working and Finding Job in Turkey as a Foreigner

Work Permits for Foreigners

The Labour and Social Security Ministry has approved 104,915 work permit applications over the last two years. Many applications were made in Istanbul, Turkey’s most significant and busiest city.

Once you have found a job, you and your employer can apply for a work permit. There are three types. Employed workers are eligible for a definite or indefinite term permit and must have a residence permit, at least 60 days validity on their passport and a legal contract with the employer.

The employer will fill in all necessary applications form and collect supporting documents before sending them to the Labour and Social Security Ministry. People living outside of Turkey can apply to the consulate in their home country.

When the application is approved, you can start work. The employer is responsible for arranging social security and tax payments. The permit is company specific, so if you quit your job at any time, it becomes invalid. (More information about work permits.)

Self Employed Work Permits

If you have lived in Turkey for at least five years, self-employed workers can also apply for an independent permit. To be approved, you will need to submit a business plan and also show how your entrepreneur work will benefit the Turkish economy.

Alternatively, in 2017, an amendment to the International Labour Force Law introduced the Turquoise System for highly skilled workers. The point-based system is hugely advantageous because holders are issued with indefinite permits. (Read more about the turquoise system here.)

Note: There are many exceptions to rules about working in Turkey as a foreigner, and laws are constantly updated so always seek up to date advice from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Also, be aware that anyone working illegally, will be fined, and, in some cases, deported if caught.

More Information about Turkish Lifestyles

What is the Cost of Living in Turkey?: Breaking down the costs of a comfortable Turkish lifestyle.
Education: 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.

* If you want to work in Turkey, please, take a look at vacant positions in Antalya Homes.

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